Is our ministry to feed the homeless on the streets of Poole.
TAS stands for:
TAKE A STEP out of your comfort zone.
A LITTLE CAN MEAN A LOT
Right from the beginning, reaching out to the ‘homeless’ in Poole was always high on our ‘things we’d like to do’ list. Initially we thought we’d try to link in with what was already going on but we soon discovered that nothing much was happening, we decided we would see what we could do ourselves. We went out into Poole with soup and rolls one Sunday after our evening service and found three men to give our food to. We knew there were more homeless guys than that, so during the daytime cards were handed out to those begging etc. to say when and where we’d be each Sunday evening. And so was birthed what we call ‘TAS’ – our ministry to the homeless. TAS stands for Taste and See (that the Lord is good), Take a Step (outside your comfort zone) and Together and Serving.
As well as food we also gave away clothes, blankets and toiletries. We chatted and where appropriate offered prayer. A few of these folk came to our evening meetings. Some months later another church contacted us offering help. As we were well staffed for Sundays, we suggested they took another evening, which they did. Gradually over the following year different churches got involved until every evening hot food was and still is being served ‘ under the bridge’ to the homeless. There are a mixture of ‘regulars’ and those just passing through but all are very appreciative of what’s on offer. At Christmas we give out presents and it has often been said that this might be the only present they receive. It has been moving to see such gratitude for such a relatively small gift.
From this work two churches have opened their premises once a week to provide a ‘drop in’ where clean clothes, a shower and hot food can be had. Also ‘Routes to Roots’ has been established and alongside Faithworks in Poole, support is being provided to get the homeless into rehab, housing and employment. One guy who has been a regular over the years, we’ll call him Ted (not his real name) had a dramatic encounter with God. He had got a lift down to Cornwall and one morning was about to have the first of his daily 12 litres of cider when he heard what he now believes was God say, “Tip it away, you don’t need it!” Ted has been dry now for 17 months. Before this the best he’d managed after going to 4 rehabs and 4 detox units was 12 weeks! He has recently been with us on an Alpha course and has come to church to tell his story, he’s getting his life back together and is hoping to train as a computer technician.
We love what God is doing in our town. We have discovered doing this work, when God puts something in your heart – then it takes on a Divine momentum because He is behind it.
Eugene Peterson’s version of Romans 12:1 sums it up for me.
“So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.”