Thanks to Rev. Eric Shafer for sharing this Great Idea in Church Anew’s blog.
Rev. Shafer is currently the ‘Pastor in Residence’ for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services after retiring from parish ministry in 2022.
Shafer writes, “I knew nothing about homelessness among college students but quickly discovered that some 10% of college students in California were homeless (and 20% hungry). While those numbers are higher in California than other parts of the USA, because of the high cost of housing in our state, I also found that this is a national problem, affecting students across the USA.”
Pr. Shafer learned this after meeting with Louis, a UCLA graduate student determined to solve the ‘massive under-the-radar problem’ of college student homelessness. Louis spoke with 50 other congregations before reaching Shafer’s LA congregation.
Getting necessary zoning changes, transforming the space, and accommodating a building schedule already full with other uses and multiple vulnerable populations, took a few months, but once the facility was prepared, the space was staffed by volunteer students and the idea expanded to other spaces across Southern California.
Read Rev. Shafer’s full post here.
The enthusiastic support of the congregation and council were essential to this project’s success. How might your leadership and congregation re-envision God’s call and guidance?
See our Adaptive Leadership lib guide for help in cultivating resilient leadership and community members.
Openness to hearing Louis’ plea for housing created a new vision for Shafer’s congregation. Where are the unmet needs in your area? Could your congregation be part of revitalizing your neighborhood or community?
Mt Olive Church had to transform some spaces – and carefully consider the building’s schedule, accessibility, and facilities. How might your congregation reinvent how its spaces are used – and by whom? And when?
And don’t forget: we’re here to walk with you through innovation! Let us know what other resources you need!