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New campaign will raise awareness and educate your community

The problems of hunger, homelessness, abuse, and addiction in North America continue to evade easy solutions. This is the case somewhat because the demographics are constantly changing due to the lingering downturn in the economy, but primarily because the average person of modest means does not really know how to meaningfully engage with those in need.

The purpose of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM), in part, is to “proclaim the passion of Jesus toward hungry, homeless, abused, and addicted people.” In other words, we strive to be the loudest voice speaking to followers of Jesus, telling the stories of the desperate and destitute, defining an authentic biblical response, and demonstrating how to perform Matthew 25:35–36-type services, which are fundamental expressions of the Christian faith.

Many ministry organizations have a handle on a particular aspect of social service. We believe, however, it is AGRM’s role—because of more than 100 years of involvement with those most broken—to talk about the broadest issues and then challenge the church at large. The goal is to foster and feed an unprecedented movement of compassion toward the poor as knowledgeable, enthusiastic ambassadors of Jesus.

Toward this end, Invisible Neighbors is AGRM’s brand new multi-faceted awareness and educational campaign. It will feature printed materials, DVD, website, other multimedia, and face-to-face experiences with homelessness and addiction at point-of-service venues.

Invisible Neighbors will be designed for distribution to local churches, to be used in small groups (e.g., home study groups, youth groups). We believe those who use Invisible Neighbors will have a life-changing experience that will influence the church and all of society. A secondary result is that rescue missions across North America will garner more long-term assistance and support from their local communities as they continue in their role of providing vital services and then evangelizing and training those in need.

The goal of this project is to equip followers of Jesus in as many as 5,000 churches to meaningfully
engage in ministry to the poor by the end of a 12-month grant period.
We will measure success by the number of Invisible Neighbors kits distributed to churches through our rescue missions (which are
located in most first- and second-tier cities in North America), and the increased number of volunteers working in ministry to the poor, as reported through multiple tracking devices by our some 275
member missions.

The time has never been better to strengthen and expand the church’s interest in helping the poor, before the government wrestles away the most significant opportunities. At this moment, followers of Jesus need to be made aware of the needs and fully equipped to meet them. The Invisible Neighbors campaign will help them do both. Learn more and sign up for your free preview kit at www.invisibleneighbors.org.


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SESSION 1: Who is my neighbor?
“Hey, we’re neighbors!”  | An unusual encounter with a homeless man that changes everything
A culture of “cocoons” and “clans”  | The impact the loss of social capital now has on our everyday lives
The Samaritan saga | A fresh, in-depth look at one of Jesus’ often-repeated parables

SESSION 2: Nations of neighbors in need
Concerning statistics | Facts and figures regarding our most heart-wrenching social issues
“This is my story” | Getting acquainted with two very typical invisible neighbors   
The next ten years | What the days ahead might hold if things continue as they are

SESSION 3: The question of responsibility
The government’s burden? | The very complicated role of government in caring for the poor
The church’s responsibility? | Why the church of Jesus Christ is not as involved as it should be
Under the Overpass | Two transients tell of their experiences with Christians on the streets

SESSION 4: Love your neighbor as yourself
A biblical perspective on the poor | What scripture says about the poor and the obligation of believers
Jesus and the Year of Jubilee | How the Son of God brings back to life a forgotten Jewish custom
The Matthew 25 upshot | The meaning and ramifications of a popular passage on kindness
 
SESSION 5: Embracing radical hospitality
The New Testament model | What biblical hospitality really means and how one patriarch lived it
Community, then houses | The right priority for addressing homelessness from a faith perspective
Christ, then programs | Why the Gospel needs to come before enrollment in social programs

SESSION 6: Missions to the rescue

A perfect place to start | What rescue missions have stood for and what they continue to do
Your invitation for involvement | Ways you can serve a rescue mission and what it will do for you
Don’t forget the words | A final word on communicating the life changing truth of Jesus