Why Go to Chapel?

Posted by Phil Altmeyer, Executive Director Mar 15, 2016 11:40:21 AM

For the majority of people coming through the doors of the Union Gospel Mission, the most pressing issues are shelter from the cold, a warm meal, the opportunity to sleep without wondering if someone is going to attack them or steal their belongings in the night.

Phil-March2016You make it possible for us to meet those needs in so many beautiful ways. You give us pillows, homemade quilts and hats, pajamas and hygiene items. You provide beds, food and medical care.

When these basic needs are met, our guests’ minds often turn to deeper issues – addiction, estranged children, unpaid bills, legal troubles, evictions, past mistakes and untreated medical conditions…Once again, because of your compassionate generosity, UGM is able to connect them to a variety of resources to help them face these problems head on.

But if the whole process stopped there, we would not have done our job. To paraphrase UGM founder, Albert Arend:

A man can walk through our doors and we can give him a hot shower, a warm meal, a change of clothing and a bed for the night, but when he walks out the door, he’s still the same man, unless we address the issues of the heart.

The issues of the heart. Part of what makes UGM unique in terms of homeless and recovery services in our area is our stance on the foundational nature of the gospel. For 65 years, we have held firmly to our belief that it is God who heals and transforms lives. He is the only one who can change the heart, and as Albert Arend said, heart change is the key to true life change. The Bible’s foremost book of wisdom states it like this:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).

Jesus himself tied his purpose in coming to heart change: “I have not come to invite good people but sinners to change their hearts and lives.”
And so, while UGM certainly wants to provide food, shelter, medical care, job training, and every resource we can to address the underlying causes of homelessness and addiction, we must not neglect the heart.

UGM’s chapel service is one expression of this core value. We know that men and women, previously unaware of any spiritual need in their lives, often have their eyes opened during chapel. And with that fresh perspective of being loved and valued, with the new belief that their lives have purpose and meaning, individuals are motivated to put an end to destructive patterns of behavior and pursue recovery.

“God tells all people in the world to change their hearts and lives,” (Acts 17:30).

Your partnership is assisting people to do just that by providing holistic recovery – physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual healing.

Interested in helping to provide chapel services at one of our shelters? Click the link below for more information.

Get your church involved!

Topics: healing, Heart to Heart, heart, Phil Altmeyer

Click here to see all articles for the March 2016 issue.


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