Homeless ministry designed to elevate, re-unite with Christ

May2013 Pic 013

Keith Richard

Pastor Keith Richard is putting Elevate Church of Baton Rouge’s vision, “believe, become, and belong”, into action through its homeless ministry.

“A lot of churches people attend now a days they don’t feel like they belong. They feel like misfits,” Richard said.  “This is a place where people can not only feel welcomed to be here, but also feel wanted as well.”

Richard launched Elevate in September 2012 through a partnership with the Signs and Wonders’ outreach ministry. Richard said through the partnership, he brought in additional volunteers to help participate in the outreach program. Last year the organization decided to place Richard in charge of the homeless ministry. “They felt us trustworthy and we’re honored to receive that ministry within us,” Richard said.

But, for him, this outreach is not just a project. It’s one of his passions, and he believes the homeless, in spite of their circumstances, are part of the community. Services are every Sunday afternoon at 4pm. Mid-week services are held Thursdays at 5pm outdoors near the River Center and USS Kids where the Elevate congregation provides dinner and clothing to homeless citizens.

“We don’t look to be different from any other ministry or any agency in any form or fashion. We just want to be what God created us to be,” said Richard. The ministry also helps identify jobs and social services that guests may need. The team develops personal relationships in order to effectively help a homeless person.

The goal, he said, is to impact the city by sharing the Gospel to the community.
Services are high impact praising, worshiping, and afterwards, the fellowship gets time to get to know one another, and then the message is delivered to the audience.

Not only does Richard participate in the ministry, but he is part of the Brave program. “It’s the community, the law enforcement, and the faith based community. We help facilitate the outreaches and represent the faith based portion of Brave,” he said. “Whenever there is an activity only thing that takes place were there for intercessory.”

His hope for them is to not only make a connection but to also make a spiritual connection. His hope for them is to not only make a connection but to also make a spiritual connection. Also the ministry is out on the streets helping, making personal connections, and teaching the word of God, to the homeless, every Thursday at 5pm.

The non-denominational homeless ministry’s goal is to bring the homeless closer to ministry but those who live the community are also invited to attend. Prior to starting this ministry, Richard worked at Bethany Church in North Baton Rouge. He also served as campus pastor at Forces of Faith in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and as associate pastor at Miracle Place Church in Baton Rouge. He has remained involved in counseling, ministering at weddings, funerals, and working with the church’s property management.

By James Teague
The Drum reporter

This article was originally published in the May 2013 issue of The Drum Newspaper.

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