There is one thing though that has been obvious to me, some people that are on the street don't really want the kind of help we want to offer them for the long haul, some just want money to continue to do as they please, they don't want to really change. How do you deal with this mindset in your ministry? Or, am I missing something?-Truthseeker, on MennoDiscuss
Some people don't want help for the long haul, that's true. But there are sometimes good reasons for that. They don't want people assuming what they want out of life-- often they don't have the same goals as middle class people. Most everyone wants a change of some sort, but perhaps not the ones we want to give them.
This is how I work things in my ministry-- I offer everyone a step in a particular direction that is for their benefit. For everyone I offer a step toward Christ and an opportunity to eat, for some I offer an opportunity for posititve counsel or for extra help in getting work, or for being more healthy or for getting a detox. For a few I offer the opportunitity to get off the street (if they are ready for discipleship). But everyone gets an opportunity for one small step. Once they take that, then I offer them the next step. But they are making the decisions themselves and doing all the work themselves. Eventually, others will get involved to help them out, but everything has to be initatied from them. That way, no one is forcing them to do anything.
I believe that this also allows the Holy Spirit to do the majority of the work, rather than taking it upon ourselves. If I were just "adopting" some folks (as I have done in the past and other ministries do full time), then WE are the ones with the ideas, WE are the planners, WE are the parents. Rather, what we should be doing is just being a guide, providing small opportunities and allowing God to be the Father and the Holy Spirit being the power.
If we are being the discipline force in someone's life, then when we are no longer in the picture, that person's discipline is gone. But if dicipline is something that comes from within, by the power of God, then that discipline need never fade-- it will always be with them wherever they go.
Why am I going on like this? I don't know. But I guess I'm just saying that we need to be there for people, be patient and gentle at all times, and to be with them, reminding them God's desire for them, but not rejecting them. And then God will do the work of calling them to himself at a pace they can accept.
Am I making sense?