Christians from the suburbs like to go downtown and do outreach. Youth groups do, too. It’s a great idea, right? But Ken has observed that this kind of drive-by evangelism isn’t very effective at gaining trust with Portland’s downtown homeless. “When Christians come downtown it’s all about them, about their goal. They’re purpose-driven. It’s not about the people. When I go downtown I have no purpose except to love people. I do it by a lot of listening. I’m saying, ‘I see you.’
Please do not let me be focused on being anything “drive-by” in life. Help me to slow down more and know the people – not just focus on “the goal” – whatever that may be. I truly want to have some purpose, some idea but really be directed by the people. It’s not about “converting” them, or changing them where they are at. It’s about just being there … I think. I went down earlier this week with someone I work with to give out some sandwiches (from Sunday afternoon – which we didn’t get to distribute since another church was out there and had a lot of stuff including food and clothing – which was great) over our lunch break. There was a guy we talked to that just talked for about 10 minutes I think about global warming (he had quite an interesting viewpoint); afterwards, I commented to my friend and co-worker that it seems sometime they really just want to talk and it seems like they enjoy it for someone to just listen.