LETTER: Matthewâs Hope celebrates five years
As we celebrate our fifth anniversary, I consider the great privilege to be part of the Kingdom building ministry we call Matthew’s Hope. Through the process of growth along the way, I have been called many names: polarizing, free-spirited, gruff, visionary, Jesus Freak (my favorite).
A few years ago, a local pastor asked if we could meet so he could pick my brain on how we go about outreach. Afterward, he leaned in close toward me, placed his hand on mine and, in an inquisitive voice, said, “Scott, you are a radical fundamentalist. … You actually believe this stuff.”
At first, I was a bit taken aback, but my only response was, “Yes, I do believe this ‘stuff.’”
Because I have been saved, and I serve a radical God who has given me a radical freedom.
Something radical has taken place. How can I not be obedient in response to what has been done for me or pretend that a life-altering, life-saving, world-changing phenomenon hasn’t taken place? And we must offer that freedom to break the chains of the ordinary and enter an extraordinary life to those in our mist who are broken. The people we see at Matthew’s Hope every day need to hear this message, and so we deliver it. We’re not about moving people out of homelessness; that is simply a byproduct of what takes place when we give people the permission to live a greater life than they believed possible.
We get the privilege of witnessing change, real change, and this doesn’t come from putting a roof over someone’s head, giving them clothing or even feeding them a meal. It comes from sharing the truth of all truths. Many of the men, women and children we see daily have no hope. Hope was lost somewhere in the wreckage of life. When we share this truth, new hope is born, lives are reborn, and the possibilities become endless.
At Matthew’s Hope, we believe we disable people when we just give everything rather than explain how to get it themselves. Don’t get me wrong — for those who are physically and/or mentally unable to care for themselves, we must do all we can to care for them.
For everyone else, we need to help them to help themselves by providing opportunities to move toward a life of self-sufficiency and independence. Giving a man a home no more makes him any less “homeless” than me standing in a garage makes me a car. However, giving a man an opportunity to earn the privilege of having a home through accountability and responsibility builds character, pride and dignity.
Not so radical when you really think about it. But it is fundamental. So come join us! Help us help them to help themselves.
Scott Billue, pastor
NEXT Community Church
Matthew’s Home Ministries