The perfect outreach night




We do outreach to un-sheltered people on the streets every Tuesday night at 4:30. I expect 5 people consistently coming each week. Someone donated soup, so we had enough for two cars to go out and feed 15 people. My expectations were exceeded. Fifteen people showed up representing 6 churches. Numbers are not that important but I've behind the numbers is another key. Fifteen people from one church doing mission is cool but fifteen people from 6 churches is grand. The potential of resources is much greater.

We talk about success before we go and hand out food and meet people. For the new individuals, success is overcoming some fear by going out with someone who has experience with the subject matter (addiction), and the geography (encampments). Just working through the unknown and exchanging some introductions with someone is success. These are building blocks of relationships.

The further we go the different success looks. One lady has been doing outreach for 4 weeks now. Let's just say that she spends 10 minutes talking to 3 people in one night. In one month, she has talked to 3 people for 40 minutes. As the relationship grows, her level of success changes. We haven't talked specifically with her but the goal would be to have her begin to "triage" a relationship - When a person goes into the Emergency room, there is a triage specialist who directs them to an area based on their specific needs.

Our Theory of Change in regards to doing Outreach with un-sheltered people is that relationships with healthy people who can inspire someone and give them hope is the beginning of recovery. When we triage our relationships with people we begin to individualize relationships that we are in and focus on specific needs. 3 relationships for this woman could be overwhelming so if she would triage then she would begin spending 30 minutes talking to one person 4 times a month. She might then break off from our Outreach and meet that individual at a coffee shop once a week to talk. She might begin setting some goals with this person and pretty soon this person sees that the only way to achieve their goals is through some recovery. They'll meet once a week while the person is in recovery and pray for each other and then when that person gets out of recovery, they go to church together and are in the same small group that meets once a week for 1 hour. The time commitment isn't really that great, the consistency and accountability is great and is the key!
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