Taking Hope to the Hurting: Network with Social Services to Meet Needs

homeless woman

Picture a lonely single mom standing in line at the social services office or a young woman getting out of prison with no family or friends to support her. Imagine a middle-aged man addicted to painkillers, feeling misunderstood by his peers as he struggles toward recovery.

What do all these people have in common? They are all individuals with spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.

So often when we search for missions projects, we overlook the desperate human needs all around us. For many of these isolated individuals, their only connection to “help” is agencies outside the church. Finding these people can help us bridge the gap and build relationships for the kingdom.

Ask your local social services office for specific ways your missions group members can help area individuals. What are people’s most desperate unmet needs? Would the office allow you to post a flyer or church brochure on its bulletin board?

Clothe the Naked

Consider hosting a seasonal clothing closet for needy individuals. It could be organized like a store, with clothing available at no charge. The clothing closet could be open 1 day a week for a month or more, with group members taking turns running the closet. It could be set up on a walk-in basis or by appointment. Decide how to advertise your ministry: a flyer with contact information, a newspaper article, or a special page on social media.

Show Love to Ex-prisoners

Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:36 that we should minister to those in prison, so it’s good to ensure people don’t slip through the cracks when they are released. Make connections with prison officials in your area, letting them know you desire to minister. Sometimes newly released prisoners need clothing and shoes just to walk out the door. If this need is expressed, be willing to take calls from the prison prior to a person’s release, so you can gather clothing. If possible, leave a card and a gospel tract for the prisoner receiving your help.

Are there existing local prison release programs your group can support? They may need child care during their meetings or donations of refreshments.

Support Recovering Addicts

Investigate to see if God is already working in your area with a Christ-centered addiction recovery program. If so, host a special speaker from this program to share a testimony of recovery. Invite the public. Pray for those who are quietly suffering with addiction and their families to be drawn to the event and encouraged. Ask God to inspire others to involvement with this ministry. Offer child care and refreshments to increase the crowd and give you a chance to mingle.

If there is not a Christ-centered addiction recovery program in your area, pray about your church sponsoring one.

Get Involved with CWJC/CMJC

Visit wmu.com/jobcorps or check with your association to find a Christian Women’s Job Corps or Christian Men’s Job Corps site near you. This WMU ministry offers life skills, various level job trainings, and help for those with learning deficits to overcome them and move forward. Perhaps members of your group have a skill or talent to offer like teaching a computer class or a Bible study or mentoring a participant.

When we go out into the highways and byways to reach people, we glorify God and demonstrate the gospel of Christ.

Sheila Gosney is a freelance writer who truly enjoys writing for the Lord. She loves writing missions articles and Christian poetry.

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