Anyone have any advice for evangelism to homeless people?
I’m a noob to this haha. But, the thing I’ve notice that helps me the most when talking to anyone about the gospel is that first and foremost I just spark up conversation and try to talk about life, what landed them on the streets, what their struggles are, ETC. Then for me, it naturally transitions over to Jesus lol. Like i said, i am by no means an expert or anything, I just have a lot of relatable experiences with the struggles that people have been through, as I’m sure that we all do. Thank you for taking the time to care about the homeless, I know that a lot of folks i stop and talk to haven’t been approached with love in quite a while so it always makes me feel good to bring some kind of happiness into the world. Good luck on your endeavors
I love this question, and it’s very timely since homelessness is quite a problem, and each person on the street can be a different situation.
I agree with @ericlc25 to strike up conversation with the person and ask them about themselves. I think many homeless feel invisible. But as a believer, I think we have an obligation to help without enabling self destructive habits such as drug and alcohol addictions.
I’ve observed some things that are helpful to me in taking steps with the individual. Pray as you encounter the person that the Holy Spirit will inspire you to do what is good and helpful.
If a person is hungry, most other things just don’t matter. Are they willing to let me provide food? If so I get them food (I was eating with my son outside a taco restaurant last week when a homeless approached us, so that was an easy provision) and I let them know it’s from Jesus. This inquiry about if they will accept food is the first place I go. I don’t carry cash with me so I can honestly tell them I don’t have any. But I can always buy food with my credit card. It’s a real sifter question in my opinion. Are they new to the street? What’s their name? Be familiar with the organizations around where you encounter homeless so you can give them information. One guy I met last week had no idea where he could go for help. Most will accept a prayer. Some scoff at prayer, it’s up to them to believe the Lord sits on His throne and cares for every life. As I tell people, prayer is not a cliche’ on a get well card. It’s presenting the person before the throne of the Most High Who hears our appeals, and has great compassion for His Creation. Apart from our salvation, I believe prayer is the greatest gift a soul may have.
I carry toiletry baggies to give away that include hand sanitizer, toothbrush/toothpaste, lip balm, lotion (it’s getting colder) mini first aid kit, etc. (get those in the sample section at the grocery store) and a book of John from Pocket Testament. https://www.ptl.org/
The ones that are only interested in cash are often dealing with substance addiction. Unfortunately I do think the only way addiction is remedied is when the person either comes to the end of themselves and receive help, or are willing to pray and let Jesus heal them and work into a rehabilitation program into a healthy lifestyle (I have friends who have been healed by a prayer to Jesus.) Addicts often take advantage of our compassion to enable the continuing of their deadly lifestyle, and I personally don’t want to be a part of that.
But this is just my two cents.
BAM, my goodness. This is a beautiful testimony of action taken and i’m grateful to read it. I have dealt with addiction very heavily in the past and what you said definitely resonates. I would use anything and anyone(including immediate family) to get what I wanted. Addiction is a very deadly and selfish thing and im grateful to be on the other side of it. Thank you very much for sharing
Thank YOU! I’m so glad we are both here to share our experiences! God bless you, @ericlc25.
Hi, Ali, @alanna1tomlinson
So wonderful to see your post, the fact that you care speaks loudly of the love in your heart.
I remember the need hierarchy chart that I learned back in school days. I think, for the homeless, the first way to show your love is to offer them the basic needs, food and shelter. Jesus after preaching to the crowds of five thousands in the field, told the disciples to “give them something to eat.” I think it is important to demonstration the love of Christ by first caring for their physical needs. I am glad that April @BloomHere also mentioned her concerns about other personal care needs. Wonderful suggestion about information of nearby organizations for other help. I should take note of that too. Thanks, April.
In addition to that, of course, relationship building is most important in evangelism. Frequent visits, conversations are important, I love what @ericlc25 said. Asking question with genuine concern is a start. Bear in mind that it may take time for people to be willing to open up especially if it is out in the open street and they don’t know you well. I helped in a soup-kitchen environment off and on, because the homeless know the place, so it is easier for them to open up. And, I agree with @ericlc25 that sometimes when they are not willing to start, sharing our own experience and feelings is one way to build relationship.
I think Love is always the main thing that attracts people to God. Hope that helps.
Thanks all SO much. I’m slightly concerned safety wise as I’m 16 and have asd
You are right to be wise and cautious about your personal safety. The street homeless life is a dangerous one. Make sure you are not in an isolated area or somewhere you’re alone when you strike up a conversation. I work in the field, so you are right to be on your guard and please don’t do anything you feel uneasy about. Ask Holy Spirit to guide you. Talk to people and relate as you would with someone who has a home. No one likes to be a project, so just make it your aim to show God’s kindness.
If you must give something (and that can often open up a longer conversation), carry a few pairs of socks. A pair of socks will be one of the last things the person will expect, and for most will be one of the most useful. To minimise the risk they will be used as currency, take any packaging off and a simple “God bless you” as you hand them over will be a good start, without being “preachy”. You might want to ask the person’s name and introduce yourself.
It takes time to build a relationship, so if you see the same individual again, greet them by name, just to validate them and give them a sense they are important to someone out there, with all the people who ignore them every day. I did this with one man and he got very suspicious, asking me “How do you know my name?” I reminded him of mine and said “I gave you a pair of socks last week”. It instantly broke the ice- he hadn’t remembered me, but he remembered the socks!
May the Lord bless you for your warm heart.
Thanks. I had the enormous privilege to pray with a homeless (probably refugee) person on Saturday. I got them a sausage roll
That’s awesome! I bake, so I love carrying individual baked goods with me when I’m going into areas of high population. My husband and sons crack up that I’ve always got a muffin or slices of cake or a sweet roll to pull out and offer when we chat with homeless. It’s a good icebreaker. There’s lots of great ideas here, but ALWAYS GO WITH someone when you’re looking to minister. There is a lot of opportunity, and always pray. You’ve got such a lovely heart for the hurting!
Baked treats sounds awesome. Lockdown makes it very difficult to go with someone
Ugh, I’m sorry. I’ll be praying for a ministry buddy to be identified for you soon. Do be safe. It has been really different ministering through the lockdown. I’ve been very frustrated because suffering has increased while we are told to stay at home.
@alanna1tomlinson So wonderful and encouraging to see young people like you to be loving and concerned about the homeless people.
Sorry, didn’t mean to be rushing you out there. It takes times. And, yes, please be careful and I think @BloomHere has the great idea that you need a ministry buddy to work together.
May God continue to guide you and keep you.