When God places a need in front of your eyes you have two choices in that moment: to look away or to do something about it. The Mt. Bethel community chose not to look away.
Homeless Ministry began when the temperatures dipped into the teens and Mt. Bethel heard about a homeless man freezing to his death. This should not be and Mt. Bethel knew God was calling them all to do something now. Since first opening their doors on December 12, 2010, God has given them the opportunity to be an extreme weather shelter for anyone needing a place to come in from the elements.
Mt. Bethel’s Christian Activities Center never looks better then when it is transformed into a home. Like all homes, the CAC becomes busy when guests are on their way. Hundreds turn out to donate towels, socks, toiletries, coats, shoes, etc. Countless volunteers jump in and begin inflating beds, creating sleeping space, making up beds, arranging the showers with supplies. Their kitchen explodes with the receiving of food donations and the manpower to receive, serve, and clean up. Volunteers wait, with great anticipation, to hear from the bus team the word on how many guest will join them that night. God has equipped Mt. Bethel to receive all who will come. Upon arrival, they come first to the Fellowship Hall. The doors open, Jesus permeates, hugs are shared, meals are served, conversation is engaged, walls are dropped, needs are met, hope is restored, love prevails and the miraculous happens: we realize we are one. They are no longer guests and volunteers; they are family.
Mt. Bethel invites you to come be a part of what God is doing. This is a fluid ministry, moving and responding to the Holy Spirit (first) and to another unpredictable variable: the weather. Sometimes they a heads-up is provided as to when we will open our doors- other times, it will be quite a short amount of time to give notice. But, each time, there are needs that can be met and opportunities where you can allow God to speak in and through you.
This ministry is particularly close to my heart. Last winter, I was away at graduate school at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA. I read a news article about the harsh winter weather Atlanta was experience, and the countless number of homeless lining up outside government buildings and shelters looking for help. My first thought was, “why aren’t the churches doing anything about this? Our church has huge amounts of space to let these people sleep in, and well over 5,000 active members that can volunteer.” I even wrote a blog about it. The next Sunday, when I was home for winter break this ministry was born. That Sunday I wrote this blog, which was picked up by Glenn Beck and highlighted on his Fox News program. Since that time the ministry has continued to grow, and help Atlanta’s homeless. People helping people are the only solution to America’s current problems, and this is what Mt. Bethel is accomplishing through Opening Our Doors.
All donations can be sent to or dropped off at Mt. Bethel UMC: 4385 Lower Roswell Rd, Marietta, GA 30068