Many see LIVING Ministry as an organization that just serves people who are experiencing homelessness. But this ministry is so much more. When we started LIVING Ministry in 2002, we started with a call to this city. We were compelled to this work because of a deep conviction that God wanted to transform Pittsburgh. But how was He going to do that? One thing we have learned is that whenever we are unsure of God’s will, one of the best things that we can do is to draw close to Him. And since we know that God is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18) we knew we needed to be near to the brokenhearted to find God. And that is exactly what we did. We hit the streets of Pittsburgh and looked for those who seemed most discouraged and exiled from society. And who did the find? The homeless.
And so we went searching for God by caring for the homeless and neglected. We visited homeless shelters, fed people in day labor halls, held bible studies in drop in centers, and even threw large clothing drives in local parks. And a funny thing happened along the way, our perspective started to change. We didn’t just see these as people to serve, but friends to share life with. And share life is what we did! We loved, laughed, lived and learned from each other. And through these intentional relationships, our own hearts started to transform. And that’s when it hit us. God was not just transforming us through this process, He was showing us how to transform a city.
So 17 years later, we believe we know God’s method for transforming Pittsburgh--investing in, caring for and embracing the most vulnerable. And time after time we have seen this method ring true. When we share life with and advocate for the homeless, something changes in both of us. Hope and dignity are restored for the person who is homeless and humility and perspective are deposited within me. And as all parties benefit, our community becomes one of peace that brings glory to God. Jesus said that he came so the blind would see and that those who see would be made blind (John 9:39). In essence he came, that those with needs would be healed and those who don’t know of their need would be made needy. Over the last decade, we have been committing ourselves to doing just that. We are helping the blind see and helping those who see realize where they are blind. And as both groups get better, our community is getting better.
A Transformed Ministry
But there is still more that can be done! There are many vulnerable communities within Pittsburgh and many pockets of seeing people that need reached and witnessed to. Through a strategic planning process and lots of prayer, we have determined that the next chapter for our ministry is take what we have learned and to expand our reach to more people. Instead of just focusing on those experiencing homelessness, we want to reach more populations with the hope and dignity that comes with the Gospel. And we want a greater platform for training and discipling ‘seeing’ people into what abundant life truly looks like—a life engaged in embracing, investing in and caring for the most vulnerable. So we have decided this year to merge with the Pittsburgh Project, a Northside Christian organization that serves vulnerable youth and seniors with a variety of ministries ranging from educational programs, summer camps and home repair.
But let's talk about this merger! I'm sure you have questions. So do we! When will it officially happen? What will happen to LIVING Ministry? Will you still do homeless ministry? Who do I make checks out to? What is your role at The Pittsburgh Project? While we wish we had all of the answers for you, we are learning that there is truly a blessing in not having all of the answers. Here's what we do know. Our Board is working to try and complete this merger by the end of 2019. That is not a hard and fast date, but we have started conversations with legal counsel to discuss what the process needs to look like. In the meantime, we have fully moved out of our office and have rented it to Kingdom Bound Project. We have moved everything we own inside of The Pittsburgh Project and have been operating out of that space for the last few months. Checks and donations will still be made out to LIVING Ministry for the rest of the year and will support the work we are doing. Now, what will that work look like in 2020? That's a great question. Will we still care for the homeless? Yes we will. But what people need to understand is that both organizations will be changing. It's not LIVING Ministry being swallowed by The Pittsburgh Project. And it's not The Pittsburgh Project becoming a homeless ministry. True partnership, true collaboration means both parties sacrifice, change and grow together to become something better and often something different. LIVING Ministry will never be the same. Nor will The Pittsburgh Project. But don't mourn that. God has ordained this and we are
so excited about this! Having a commercial kitchen to cook more meals for shelters and highrises is exciting. Having a dorm building to house more mission groups and missionary interns is exciting. Fixing houses of current homeowners or preparing homes for people coming off the streets is exciting. There are so many MORE opportunities now that we can now be a part of that really make this merger so powerful.
As a dear supporter of the ministry, we pray that you are willing to stay on this journey with us. We will always be missionaries no matter which organization we serve with. There are still many unknowns in this process, but God has already produced some awesome new things between our 2 organizations, and I know He has SO MUCH MORE He wants to do. Keep us in your prayers!
If you have more questions about this merger and how our future will look, feel free to reach out to us and we would love to meet with you to discuss this more fully. Here are some of the answers we would love to share:
Vision behind the merger
The state of both ministries
What happens to the staff
What type of programs and ministry we will be doing
And what happens with you as a supporter and/or volunteer of LIVING Ministry
If you would like to schedule time with our Executive Director, Charles Chapman, click this link and pick a time that works for you! The next 4 months are momentous in the life of the ministry, and as a faithful supporter, we want to make sure you are clear with what is happening and where we are going. Thanks!