Tuesday, June 21, 2011

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.