FSCF Urban Mission / Ministry Training sheet #4

How to Approach the Homeless in Street Evangelism

Communication skills based approach:

Guideline For Homeless Experience & Evangelism

Sang Jin Choi/appachoi@gmail.com
APPA Mission Center • June 26, 2010

1. Smile when you meet them in a welcoming way. 
    -Don't show any fear. Just relax.

2. Greet them. 
    -Say something like "how are you" or shake their hand.

3. Sometimes, the homeless may want a hug. 
    -Don't be surprised, just give them a friendly hug back.

4. Ask them where they're from or where their hometown is. 
    -Many homeless people miss their homes and may have lots of memories of their hometown. This is a good conversation starter.

5. Don't ask nosy, straightforward questions like "why are you homeless?" or "what kind of mistakes did you make?" or "have you ever been in prison?" 
    -If they want to talk about it, they will tell you on their own time.

6. Don't use words like "black" or "homeless". 
    -Use euphemisms or more general terms like "African American" or "brothers/sisters".

7. Share about your favorite hobbies (sports, music, books, etc). 
    -If you know what race they are, talk about appropriate subjects.

8. Ask indirect questions about things like homeless issues.
    -i.e. Are there other mission groups or volunteer services that provide food for them? Is there a shelter nearby that they can stay in? Are there different ethnicities of homeless people? Through these kinds of questions, they can talk directly about their real-life problems or issues. At this point, you may ask questions like those in #5.

9. You may ask questions regarding their religion at this point as well (Are you Christian? Do you go to church? etc). 
    -In many cases, you may meet non-Christian homeless people. Don't push them to be Christian or to attend church. If it is your first time, you can do these things when you meet them in the future.

10. Ask them if they have any prayer requests. 
    -Some of them might say that they don't have any or that they don't want to share. Don't be disappointed or try to push them. The best way is to get them interested. Tell them examples of prayer requests. You may say something like "How about jobs, housing, health, family, friends, etc?". In my experience, even if they don't want to share, if you give them examples they may remember something they want to share with you.

11. Hold hands and pray together. 
    -The best way is to share your prayer requests with them as well. Ask them to pray for you as well. Don't pressure them. Keep friendly. Also, ask one of them to conclude the prayer.