Reimagining Charity

Posted by Ethos Church on

What: REIMAGINING CHARITY: Learning To Better Walk With Our Friends & Neighbors Experiencing Homelessness & Poverty

When: Sunday, June 10th at 1–4PM (Lunch at 12:30, Provided)
Where: ONE venue (Third floor of the Cannery)

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." Then the righteous will answer him, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?" The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:35-40


I think most would agree there is a clear call in scripture to care for our brothers and sisters who experience homelessness, poverty, illness, and crisis — but have you ever been faced with a situation and you weren’t sure how to respond?

Have you ever been approached by someone asking for money, food, a hotel room, etc. — and you immediately felt paralyzed by fear and guilt mixed with compassion and pity?

You may have felt the two sides: “You need to be generous, because Jesus would want you to be…” but then also “What if this person misuses the money you give them, or what if their story isn’t true?”

Have you ever been in the situation where you’ve helped someone maybe once, maybe multiple times over several months or even years but their situation never seems to change? You give them money for food or a hotel room and they swear it won’t happen again, yet you find yourself being asked again and again for the same things.

We’ve probably all been in situations like these but don’t know what the best response is. You might feel confused. You might believe that scripture is clear and you should continue to be generous no matter what the person does with your resources. You might try even harder to save the person with your help. Or you may be jaded now and decide that you don’t want to give money or assistance anymore. You may have lost trust in a person or anyone who approaches you and asks for assistance.

Believe it or not, even the Ethos staff has gone through these same feelings and experiences. Just because we work for a church doesn’t mean we have a magic formula on how to respond. It’s been through some failure, struggle, getting burned, and a lot of ignorance on our part that we finally decided that there has to be a better way — one that better helps people and one that shows the love of Jesus more fully.


The difficult truth is often poverty alleviation efforts (by people and organizations) perpetuate cycles of poverty, establish and maintain a hierarchy of giver and receiver, or of the “fixer” and the “broken one.” These efforts often fail to recognize the image of God within all people and can reinforce the message that people experiencing homelessness are fundamentally broken or “less than” without the help of someone more affluent. Often, the dynamics look like a person helping thinks its their job to save the other person; in the process, they make that person dependent on them and continue to perpetuate unhealthy cycles.

The answers are complex and require a great deal of willingness to sacrifice, love people through difficult times, and setting clear boundaries. More than anything, it takes a willingness to walk with someone. It takes seeing and loving them through the eyes of Jesus and not as a service project. It involves walking with them in a way that instills dignity and self-worth. It means learning to look for the gifts and abilities that God has given them. And it looks like helping bring them towards peace with God, themselves, and the world around them.

While there are unique ways that a church’s leaders get to enter into this process with people at times — this is largely the role of THE CHURCH (being you!). Our hope is to equip anyone interested with tools to walk with people in a way that empowers that person to reach their God-given potential while retaining your own self-health and necessary boundaries.


On Sunday, June 10th, we will be hosting a seminar to come learn, listen, and discuss with Shawn Duncan of Atlanta’s Lupton Center on how we can better love and walk with people experiencing poverty and homelessness or in crisis.

Shawn’s work at the Lupton center revolves around researching and trying out better methods of walking with people. Shawn and the Lupton Center have trained countless churches, organizations, and individuals in this area — but more than that, they have entered into real life with real people going through hard times and shown them the love of Jesus in appropriate and healthy ways for both parties. Shawn and his team haven’t just studied it and theorized on it, they’ve lived it.

This seminar will be aimed largely at shifting our paradigm of what good charity looks like and how each of us already has what we need to walk with people in sustainable, empowering, healthy ways that promote dignity, love, and peace.

We’d love for you to sign up to be a part of this opportunity that could transform the way our church enters into life with people in our city struggling through homelessness and poverty. We’re excited to see the impact this will have over the months and years to come as more people take steps in learning a new way to love and serve our neighbors.

The seminar will be held from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm on Sunday, June 10th in the ONE venue at the Cannery ballroom.  Lunch will be served at 12:30. This venue is on the third floor of the Cannery and is where we typically host our weekly prayer gathering.

To sign up for the seminar:

(Please sign up by June 3 so that we can make lunch arrangements)



If you have any questions, email Brooks Lokey at .


If you attend the seminar and are looking for more ways to continue learning and growing in this area, you'll have the opportunity to take part in a 6-week Grow Class in which we will each go through a video series created by the Lupton Center.

This series usually costs $60 per person; however, Ethos would like to cover half of the cost for you. Financial aid is available on a limited basis for those of you who want to participate but may be limited by the financial responsibility. If this applies to you, email Brooks at The video series can be completed online and we will meet only twice as a group to discuss and share ideas.

Due to the financial component to this Grow Class, there are only 50 spots available. These spots are first come, first serve. If you know you'd like to walk through this 6 week video course, go ahead and sign up by emailing Brooks Lokey at .


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