By Peggy Park
Brad Johnson and his sons, Matthew, 19, and Niklas, 15, of Tates Creek Christian Church, Lexington, Kentucky, are living out James 2:17: “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” They put feet to their faith for three-plus hours every Sunday afternoon.
About two years ago the three started volunteering with Church Under the Bridge, which began its Lexington ministry in May 2003. The church was started by four people from four Lexington churches that had a vision and passion for the needs of street people. The church for indigent/homeless individuals has now found a winter home (November through March) at Broadway Christian Church, and meets outdoors at a Mission House the remaining months.
The church averages 150 guests, with 16 Lexington churches leading services on a rotating basis. (At its first service at a local YMCA, 30 people attended.)
Johnson said volunteers come together in downtown Lexington “to love God and to love our neighbors.” CUTB is a Christ-centered ministry advancing the gospel of evangelism, social concerns, and biblical justice; the ministry is open to all others who share this vision. He quotes Mark 12:30, 31, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Johnson and his sons help prepare for the service. Their work includes setting up chairs, sound equipment, food-serving supplies, a CUTB banner, and tables for the barber and nurse who serve the guests.
“A church is responsible for providing the speaker and the worship program, as well as the hot meal, which is served after the service,” Johnson said. “First we feed the spirit with the message and music, and then we feed the body.”
Tates Creek Church periodically collects new and used clothing items for those who attend Church Under the Bridge.
In addition, Tates Creek blessed the mission by donating a keyboard, two large speakers, three microphones with stands, and a soundboard. Johnson tries to begin playing Christian music as soon as possible each week, hoping it will help draw people to the service.
The verse in Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news,” applies to this dedicated threesome as they are bringing the love of Jesus to these souls. These three serve in order for them to hear the gospel. They are loving with the love of Jesus as they work, as they greet, and as they talk to the individuals. Indeed they have “faith feet” and I think they are beautiful feet.
For more information about church services for the homeless, contact Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peggy Park is a retired registered nurse and author of Unshackled (available at www.bookmasters.com).