Homeless Ministry in Downtown Nashville

AIM staff member and worship leader Matt Snyder shared what happened Monday night during the college break trip to Nashville last week:
It was composed of ragamuffins.  Nobody had
their junk together and all of them felt drawn together to just serve. 
Tattooed arms, gauged ears, and scruffy clothing was the style.  Each
breath they took in sucked in creativity and exhaled expression because
these artists dreamed what God dreamed and painted it into a reality you
could taste, touch and see.  Under the cover of darkness, an army of
Light was gathered.  And all 22 of us joined them.

People Loving Nashville
started out simple enough.  A group of friends got together and decided
that they wanted to feed the homeless people downtown.  They started out
making ten meals and handing them out to whoever would take them.  Then
they decided to make meals and get to know the people that they handed
them to.  Ten meals turned into twenty, turned into fifty, and now on
some nights turns into three hundred or more.

We gathered around the old war memorial in downtown Nashville last
night.  The sight reminded me of my days in Church on the Street
I loved it and sighed a breath of relief.  My spirit shattered as we
made our way closer to the group of men eagerly awaiting their next warm
meal, smiles in tote.  I immediately felt at peace and made my way
around getting to know some of their stories and dreams.

Mark moved from Connecticut eight years ago to live with his brother. 
After working several jobs, sickness won the battle for his life and he
hasn’t been able to get a job since.  Now he’s on the street looking for
something, anything to provide for what he needs.  His dream is to get
into the music industry and become an R&B producer.

Mary Kay was a beam of radiance.  She stood in line to get some new
shoes.  As she made her way to the front, she slipped on a pair.  “Mary
Kay! Those look so cute on your feet!” on of the girls told her.  She
immediately began modeling them.  “Thank you!  They sure do feel nice.  I
can even wear them in the rain!”  She walked away a new woman.

Yancey had a speak problem and a slight drug addiction, but he taught me
that B.I.B.L.E. stood for “basic instructions before leaving earth.” 
He thought I was kidding when I told him that I had no idea what that
stood for.  He threw up his hands and laughed when he realized I was

These three and the seventy or more others collectively have centuries
worth of stories, worth of life lived.  Their dignity last night was
getting to share those.  And we had to drag our group away so they would
get sleep and be prepared for their day of ministry today.

I love that darkness is so easily defeated with a smile, a meal, and a
classic conversation.  I love that there’s a tribe of revolutionaries – a
remnant of sorts – gathering in Nashville to change the city through
such a simple act of service.  And I was honored to be a part.