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Vote for AGRM district officers and board representatives; strong support for establishing mission on Pine Ridge reservation; save the date for AGRM’s annual DC Forum; essay explores why the poor make bad choices; one in seven Canadian kids lives in poverty
AGRM staff upholds members in prayer during busy holiday season; Early Bird convention registration starts today; survey on feeding/sheltering and ministry shows interesting results; boy sells Kool-Aid to give homeless kids Christmas; homeless use ER services more than low-income groups
AGRM president represents association internationally; Denver Mattress Company continues partnership with nearly 70 missions; Giving Tuesday adds charity to the holiday season; Americans enrolled in SNAP programs see decrease in benefits; charitable giving recovers at slower pace than expected
Postal Service rate increases could affect mission mailings; AGRM Board elects new officers; food truck builder designs pods for the homeless; new California law protects domestic violence victims’ jobs; researchers take steps toward medical treatment for pot abuse
Rescue missions don’t shut down, even when government does; participate in AGRM’s Snapshot Survey; police in Boston honor homeless man’s honesty; influenza vaccination rates rise among children; census data reveals increase in use of food benefits
Colorado flooding doesn’t directly affect AGRM; improvements ahead for AGRM connect groups; 100th anniversary water bottles and mugs for sale; Hunger Challenge asks participants to live on $4.50 per day; American still struggling years after end of recession
Important reminders about a busy season of AGRM events; My Hope America training to be held at district meetings; South Carolina city criminalizes homelessness; ministry threatened with arrest for giving food to homeless; Google study says September might be boom time for donors
Book rooms for AGRM’s CEO Summit by August 19; register now to attend your District Meeting this fall; project replaces handwritten signs of homeless people; housing and health care fuel record costs for rearing a child; heavy drinking in U.S. increases health costs significantly
Landmark discussions to be held at AGRM’s CEO Summit; Faith and Giving Coalition completes first phase of work; Tennessee pastor goes undercover as a homeless man; Americans value public service over government involvement; researchers warn of overwhelming costs of mental illness
AGRM to convene the Faith and Giving Coalition at the U.S. Capitol; CEO Summit registration begins this week; celebrities reveal stories of past homelessness; Americans exercise more, but continue to fight obesity; Terminix lists top bedbug-infested cities
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Publish Date: 7/9/2013
A Healthy Approach: How People?s City Mission?s free health clinic is closing the gap for those who can?t afford health care by Sue Rosenfeld + Caught the Vision?(pg.4) Steps of Promise: People City?s clinic helps one woman find help, hope, and healing by Sue Rosenfeld (pg.10) Breaking Chains of Destruction: A complete approach to addiction recovery combines clinical methods with the gospel message by Terri Leveton (pg.20) Urging a Shift of Power: Recovery programs must focus solely on spiritual...
Publish Date: 7/9/2013
Features- Fighting for Hope: How Boise Rescue Mission is helping veterans discover true freedom. by Sue Rosenfeld
+ Caring for Warriors (pg.4) Winning the Battle: Boise?s veterans program helps one man find hope and healing
by Sue Rosenfeld (pg.10) Maturity Versus Youth: 20 Tried and True: Seeing the value of tradition and experience in mission ministry. by Herb Opalek (pg. 20) Power and Passion: Understanding the importance of enthusiasm and energy in mission work. by Sabrina Burkiewicz (pg.2...
Publish Date: 7/3/2011
Features: A New Chapter Addicted for 40 years, a man is now penning lines of liberty. By Sue Rosenfeld (pg.4) Hope for the Holidays- Warm and creative ways to celebrate the season. By Natalee Roth (pg.14) A Soul Fill-Up Caring for yourself so you can care for others. By Kevin Houk (pg.20) Cultivating Commitment- Smart strategies to find effective volunteers. By Jon McKee and Tom McKee (pg.32) The Heart of the Donor- Why donors choose to give to specific organizations. By Lyric Murphy (pg.39) A G...
Publish Date: 7/3/2011
Features: A Journey to Unity How two former addicts grew toward freedom and lasting love. By Natalee Roth (pg.4) High-Speed Contributor Connections- Use these eight strategies to reach donors via the Internet. By Dave Raley (pg.12) Building Board Bonds- Principles to help CEOs strengthen a relationship with the mission board. By John R. Frank (pg. 18) Human Resources 101- Important ways to care for ministry staff members. By Angie Braio West (pg.22) Helping the Potentially Homeless- Effective pr...
Publish Date: 7/3/2011
Features: Beauty from Ashes- A journey from food and drug addictions to infectious joy. By Natalee Roth (pg.4) More Hands to Help- Plan to benefit from the new crop of volunteers. By Jenn Gold (pg. 12) Living to Lead- Six traits of an effective mission leader. By Charlie McElveen (pg.18) Running Over! A pictorial look at the enriching 2010 AGRM convention Photography by Dennis Chapman (pg.22) Professional and Productive- An overview of five critical employment laws. By Martha L. Ayerdis (pg.27)
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Executive Session Blog
Coming to a Church Near You
By John Ashmen
It’s a typical suburban church building in a typical suburban neighborhood. It sits on a sometimes-busy street lined with ranch-style houses. The local grammar school is a Frisbee-throw away—if you can clear the fence.
The grass out in front of the church would probably take 40 minutes to mow, depending on how many times the laborer stopped for lemonade. Out back is a typical macadam parking lot that looks to hold about 60 cars. Behind that is a concrete overflow lot that could probably take another 20.
Wherever you stand on the property, the roofline hints at the history of the place: an original sanctuary to the north, a new worship center to the south, and a Sunday school and office wing that connects them, all made of typical red bricks and all probably built about a decade apart.
But what’s going on these days at Redemption Church in Olathe, Kansas, is far from typical. This seems to be the fault of a guy named Jim.
A few years ago, Jim and his wife, Jennifer, encountered some homeless men on the street. During their conversation, Jim suggested that they go to church. He then recommended a church where he thought they might slip in unnoticed. Jennifer abruptly scolded her husband in front of the men for not suggesting their own church. After a few awkward moments, Jim offered to pick them up the following Sunday and take them to Redemption.
At first it was a couple of men. And then it was a couple more. Soon, “Christian Jim” (as he is now know among the homeless population) was making regular Sunday morning runs in a customized van, piling in homeless folks and entertaining them en route with gospel music from the 30-speakers sound system in the long white Dodge.
Today, about 20 percent of the congregation of 150 is made up of homeless people. Other members now drive their vehicles down to the homeless camps along the Kansas River and collect congregants. About a dozen of those who attend regularly have embraced the gospel and now follow Jesus.
I was at Redemption Church this past Wednesday night. A dozen staff and key leaders invited me to join them for some savory Kansas City barbecue. As we ate, I absorbed their excitement and responded to their anxieties.
“I think we’ve started something here that we can’t stop,” said one woman. “But based on what Scripture calls us to do, I don't think we should stop. What do you think?”
“This is the reason my two teenage boys are excited about church,” declared one of the men. “If I told them we were going to do away with the Bible and start using the Koran in church, they would probably just shrug. But if I told them that we were no longer going to bring homeless people into our fellowship, they almost certainly would stop coming.”
“Down the hall you’ll see that we built a large bathroom with a shower,” a younger gal pointed out. “Some of us are now part of the ‘shower ministry,’ I guess you could say. We offer hygienic care so that both the people getting the showers and those they will be sitting next to in the service will be comfortable. Should we add more showers, or is that a crazy idea?”
Before dessert, I offered Pastor Tim, Associate Pastor Scott, and the others several things to consider:
- Be deliberate. Think through then write out your ministry philosophy. Have your church leaders review and approve it. Be careful to communicate that you are foremost a church. Don’t create false expectations for anybody in the congregation—the homeless or the home-secure.
- Declare your convictions. Proclaim your orthopraxy in conspicuous ways—maybe through photos, slogans, and the like—so visitors and new families know why your church is not typical as it pertains to attendees.
- Be safe. Security is foremost. Take nothing for granted. Attitudes and behaviors of people you think you are getting to know can change from week to week. Make your nursery and primary education wing for parents and children only.
- Don’t offer meals every Sunday. Quite a few places will feed homeless people. They know where they are. Show that you are a church family first. Do an all-church supper maybe once a month, but invite everybody.
- Don’t overextend yourselves in services. Maybe concentrate on shoes and socks and foot care. But know where to find the services you cannot provide.
- Tailor Sunday school classes. Remember that education and life skills lead to employment and independence. There is nothing wrong with teaching reading in Sunday school.
- Think “we.” Try to move away from a mentality of “us” serving “them.” Homeless individuals want a sense of community more than they want to be your “mission field.” Preach often from James 2.
- Use the arts. Music, drama, poetry, paintings, and such have an amazing effect on people who are not used to long lectures. God gave us the arts, and they definitely can be part of our worship.
- Create a “living room.” Have an area in the church where homeless people can sit relax, converse, and generally mingle with the rest of the body of Christ before and after the service. Such a setting helps build community.
- Communicate with local campuses. Get the word out to students at local colleges through the ministry services department or campus ministries (i.e., InterVarsity, The Navigators, and Cru) about what you are doing. Without a doubt, many will want to join such a faith community. Being with the poor is where many of their hearts are.
- Don’t attempt to handle recovery. Love them first. Don’t try to cure them from their addictions. That is something that takes training and expertise beyond what most—if not all—members of your church have.
- Partner with a local rescue mission. AGRM has two member missions in Kansas City. They know addiction recovery. Get to know those who minister at the missions and tell them who is attending your church. It’s likely that they know some of the folks, and they would be happy to offer some insights.
We weren’t done. Following the leadership meeting, we went to the worship center where another 50 or so people had gathered—pretty good for a Wednesday night these days—to talk about Invisible Neighbors. (Everybody who came received a copy of the book.) My 30-minute talk was followed by another hour of questions, tearful testimonies, and fellowship.
I deeply believe that what Redemption Church is doing is a foretaste of things to come. Why do I think this? Every week at AGRMwe receive multiple inquiries from churches wanting to know how they can serve the poor in their communities and bring them into their fellowships. They ask: Can you help us with resources or give us advice? They lament: We have no place else to turn.
In your next executive staff meeting, imagine what it would be like to have 10, 20, or maybe even 50 churches in your community really partnering with you on a Redemption-Church level. It certainly isn’t far fetched.
Read AGRM’s vision statement and concentrate on the final phrase. As we approach our 100th anniversary in the association, I urge you to make this a matter of prayer.
AGRM will foster and feed a movement of diverse, energetic disciples who will see the practice of hospitality to the destitute as both a catalyst for life transformation in Jesus and a fundamental expression of their Christian faith, thus propelling the church into the lead role in society’s quest to alleviate homelessness.
There is definitely more to come.
|Convention registrations still coming in
We hope you are one of the 600-plus full-time registrants (so far) who have signed up for the 100th anniversary celebration convention this June 11 – 14 in Phoenix, Arizona. With the registrations still to come in, plus the part-time attendees and the exhibitors, we are expecting upwards of 1,000 people.
Here are some things that we could still use from you:
- Scans of your best historic photos and documents, sent to Lisa Miller
- Two of your mission’s aprons (with your logo on them), mailed to Lisa at 7222 Commerce Center Drive, Suite 120, Colorado Springs, CO 80919
- A 15-second video of you congratulating AGRM on 100 years, sent to Nicole Daniels
- Your registrations for anybody else that you think would greatly appreciate the opportunity to see the tremendous heritage and scope of rescue mission ministry in North America (See details and a link to the registration page.)
We have a great partnership in the works
We’re excited to be partnering with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and the My Hope America initiative. Dr. Graham has taped a series of messages that will be played in early November on his 95th birthday. Christians all over America are being encouraged to invite neighbors to their homes to watch the broadcasts. AGRM missions will be the homes for the homeless—our invisible neighbors. BGEA is even considering helping participating missions by providing a meal for anyone who attends the showings.
More information about this partnership will be released at the convention in June. (If you want advance information so you can get this on your calendar, contact AGRM Director of Public Relations Nicole Daniels.) Carlos Baldovinos (CEO of California’s The Mission at Kern County) and Danny Little (CEO of Visalia Rescue Mission, also in California)—both of whom worked for BGEA in the past—are spearheading the plans on behalf of AGRM.
As you probably know, Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, will be a keynote speaker at our convention in Phoenix.
Mission hosts high-end social enterprise
Every month, I add another mission or two to my “I’ve Been There” list.
Following my time in Olathe, Kansas, I visited for the first time Springfield Victory Mission in Springfield, Missouri. CEO Jim Harriger and his wife, Mary, provided transportation and uplifting conversation en route.
Victory has several creative outreach ministries and
subsidiaries. (We will be featuring its warehouse and distribution
center in an upcoming issue of Rescue magazine.) Most notable is Victory Trade School (VTS),
run by Victoria Queen. The open enrollment is for people who have
graduated from an addiction recovery program anywhere in North America
(not necessarily from the Springfield Victory Mission). Students have come from AGRM member missions, Teen Challenge, and
For the time being, the primary course of study at VTS is
culinary arts. But don’t think we’re just talking about ServSafe
instruction and sharing Grandma’s secret recipes. Think Top Chef!
Highly qualified culinary experts with years of experience oversee the
instruction. As students progress through the program, they cook and
serve at The Branch Bistro, a classy learning lab, if you will, located at the Assemblies of God international headquarters. In fact, VTS runs
the entire food service concession for the denomination.
Graduates from the program are being placed in high-end
restaurants, country clubs, and major resorts. It’s definitely worth a
look. See www.victorytradeschool.edu.
While I was there I was asked to be one of eight judges who
got to grade the "final exams"—all six courses!—for two different teams.
It was a very enlightening and scrumptious assignment.
It’s a typical suburban church building in a typical suburban neighborhood. It sits on a sometimes-busy street lined with ranch-style houses. But what’s going on these days at Redemption Church in Olathe, Kansas, is far from typical.
My brother traveled to Schopfloch, Germany, to explore the hamlet of our ancestors. His tour of the medieval town brought him to the Lutheran church cemetery. When he couldn’t find any headstones for Eshelman—our family name before colonial relatives Americanized it—he asked the vicar where they might be. Gesturing like a song leader with fidgety fingers, he said, “Sie sind pulver in der brise.” Translation: They are powder in the breeze.
For this last Executive Session of the year, I decided to give you a present you can re-gift and stick under your board chair’s Christmas tree. It’s something I hope is not needed anytime soon (especially for your sake). And unfortunately, it’s something he or she might not want to accept from you at the time it is needed. My present is six “don’ts” wrapped in advice gleaned from 30 years of experience in association management.
The midday sun was intense and the midtown sidewalks were crowded. Smartly dressed office workers wove their way through the onslaught of oncoming humanity in search of a quick sandwich and a brief respite from daily duties. Atop a milk crate near a crosswalk, head and shoulders above all the passersby, stood a wild-haired man in a dark wool blazer, dress shirt, and clashing tie. Sweat poured down his face as he waved a closed Bible.
Earlier this month, Willow Creek Association held its annual Global Leadership Summit. An estimated 160,000 church and ministry leaders attended via satellite linkup in various cities. Several antidotes and one-liners from keynote speakers hit their mark with me.
This issue of "Executive Session" is coming to you from a Starbucks located on Alpine Shadows View in Colorado Springs. The landscape outside the window is as black as the Grande Americano I’m sipping. Just a few blocks away, the recent Waldo Canyon fire did some of its heaviest neighborhood damage.
The month of March has been a blur of distant airline terminals, littered city streets, and a whole lot of unfamiliar faces. I’ve been gone more than I’ve been home. That’s never fun, but it comes with the job.
But the lessons I learn on the road are particularly powerful. For this issue of Executive Session, I thought I would take a different course and share two special experiences from my March travels abroad—and the thoughts God impressed upon me.
Every night on my homeward commute, I notice more and more houses adorned with colorful blinking bulbs. With Thanksgiving now a memory but Christmas looming large, there seems to be a scramble in the neighborhoods to illuminate lawns and brighten spirits. Despite the lights and the abundance of public festivities, psychologists tell us that the end-of-year holidays yield the most depressing days of the year for far too many people.
Nebuchadnezzar II excelled at grandiose expressions of anger, beauty, and pride. He was the unassailable king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire who destroyed Israel’s first majestic temple, built the wondrous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and set up a nine-story image of gold on the Plain of Dura, commanding everyone to worship it.
No one can deny that we live in changing (and contentious) times.
In this issue of Executive Session, I discuss the need for leaders to change with the times, or face the possibility of being replaced. Incidentally, this topic is something that will be on the table during the AGRM CEO Summit, held next month in Colorado Springs. Also in this issue of the newsletter is a list of the CEOs who have already signed up for this important event
North America is not the rest of the world, and when we compare our missions to those in other countries, it is obvious that there are many differences. But this doesn't mean we can't learn from other nations---especially from places that have already experienced cultural shifts that are most certainly coming our way...
With millions of people across North America falling victim to abuse, getting caught in the grip of addiction, and finding themselves on the streets, the problems of those in need can be overwhelming. Fortunately, God—knowing our energy and our empathy have limits—called us to a specific community to reach out to certain individuals.
The Scriptures speak of the untamable tongue, which some use to praise God and others to spread corruption. This is a truth we experience every day in a continent saturated by strong and loudly voiced opinions.
Meaningful giving at Christmastime sometimes gets lost in frantic shopping trips, stressful schedules, and commercial holiday hype.With so great a need and so many people demanding of your time and energy, it may be extra challenging to experience this aspect of holiday joy.
Soap Box Blog
FEWER RECENT US WAR VETERANS VISITING MISSIONS ACCORDING TO NEW SURVEY
Survey by Association of Gospel Rescue Missions Nationwide Shows Slight
Decline in Number of Iraq-Afghanistan Vets Homeless
November 25, 2013 --- Colorado
Springs, Colo. --- Overall, slightly fewer Persian Gulf and Afghanistan
war veterans are seeking services from US rescue missions, according to
a survey conducted by the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM)
in October of this year.
The 24th annual Snapshot Survey
taken at 105 missions across North America showed a 2 percent decline
in the total number of veterans seeking aid. Persian Gulf and
Afghanistan war veterans both showed a 4 percent decline. Nearly 17,000
individuals answered the questions that made up the survey.
know that the Veterans Administration and other groups are working
diligently to help the men and women who leave the military integrate
back into society," said John Ashmen, president of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM). "But
we still have over 12 percent of the homeless our missions serve coming
from the military community, and that is too many. We owe these
veterans a debt of gratitude, and we can repay that somewhat by making
sure they have their basic needs for food, shelter and clothing met when
they find themselves in dire straits."
recently as last week, the Veterans Administration announced an
additional $4.9 million in grants for 25 homeless veteran programs in 11
states. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki stated in a VA
news release: "Until no Veteran has to sleep on our nation's streets,
we still have work to do."
missions offer multiple programs for veterans in need, as well as
partnering with other agencies in their communities to help veterans
find solutions to homelessness.
The Snapshot Survey,
conducted at gospel rescue missions in October 2013, provides a
valuable snapshot of those seeking assistance from rescue missions, most
(81 percent) of whom are currently homeless.
2013 data also showed a small decrease in the number of people
reporting that they were victims of physical violence. One in five
reported they had suffered violence in the past 12 months, a decline of 5
percent over last year. Those self-reporting that they struggled with
mental health issues remained at approximately one-third of those
the survey showed little change over the last three years in the age,
gender and ethnicity of the homeless at rescue missions. Approximately
half were Caucasian, a third African- American and just over 10 percent
Hispanic. Among the people surveyed, 82 percent were single
individuals. Of those who came to a mission with a family, 52 percent
were single women with children. The largest group of homeless were
between 46 and 65 years of age – at 41% of those surveyed, a slight
increase from the 2012 survey. Those between 36 and 45 years of age
were the second largest group at 22 percent – marginally less than last
percent of the individuals come daily to the mission where they were
surveyed; almost as many (79 percent) prefer to receive assistance from
an agency with a spiritual emphasis.
year, faith-based ministries that are members of AGRM serve between 40
and 50 million meals, provide 15 to 20 million nights of lodging,
distribute more than 25 million pieces of clothing, bandage the wounds
of hundreds of abuse victims, and graduate close to 20,000 men and women
from addiction-recovery programs and into productive living.
in 1913, the Colorado Springs-based AGRM is North America's oldest and
largest network of independent crisis shelters and rehabilitation
centers, offering radical hospitality in the name of Jesus. With
approximately 285 member missions, AGRM exists to proclaim the passion
of Jesus toward the hungry, homeless, abused and addicted, and to
accelerate quality and effectiveness in member missions. For more
information, visit www.agrm.org or call (800) 4RESCUE.
# # #
The Snapshot Survey Report may be downloaded from: http://www.agrm.org/Document.asp?DocID=278
Overall, slightly fewer Persian Gulf and Afghanistan war veterans are seeking services from US rescue missions, according to a survey conducted by the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) in October of this year.
There are many points of view on New Year’s resolutions. Setting goals any time isn’t just valuable for us individually, but for our missions as well. How can we better serve our clients? How can we be more loving, encouraging, and inspirational? How can we save more lives?
I recently came across this quote by Teddy Roosevelt, who served as the 26th president of the U.S. His words reminded me of you, the men and women who spend your days and nights serving the homeless, hungry, addicted...
Too often, we make decisions from what we see, hear, touch, or reason. But 1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us, “The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
When I was a little boy I had an experience that marked me for years. I was at a clothes store shopping with my mother and grandmother, and like most kids I thought it was fun to slip in and out of the clothing racks.