Following Christ in the Streets
While I was growing up, my dad Buck Hale served as a great example of how we should treat one another. Throughout the towns where we lived, it was not uncommon to see our phone number listed near payphones, along with an offer to call Buck if you needed help. I imagine that is where the seed was planted that has grown into what is now Street Ministries 25:40. However, other “ingredients” added to the final motivation to make it work.
One ingredient came from how small churches view missions and evangelism. When I asked people in a class what “missions” meant to them personally, many described missions as sending financial help or a person(s) to a foreign field to do the work of the church.  When I asked them about evangelism, most responded with “I don’t know how” or “I don’t know where to start.”
As I look back at nearly 20 years of ministry, I have done a bad job of teaching the youth how to do Bible studies. (Hang with me; you will see how this all comes together in Street Ministries.) Over the past three years of working with a small congregation in Rockdale, Texas, I was moved to start showing not only our teens, but also our adults, how easy it can be to do mission work and evangelize.
Looking back, I realized that small churches often lack the knowledge of how to accomplish what Jesus asks us to do in Matt. 28: go, teach, baptize, and continue teaching and showing. Also, the mindset of small churches—at least the ones I have worked with or seen through the eyes of my fellow ministers—is that mission work occurs only in another country (not the United States) and that evangelism is really up to the ministers on staff. Many rural churches feel that all they can do is give thousands of dollars for foreign missions. I disagree! I believe we need to see that our mission fields are right outside our front doors. We need to understand that evangelism starts with nothing more than, “Hi, how are you today?”
Hence, the final ingredients that led to Street Ministries 25:40. Inspired by Matt. 25:31-46, Street Ministries 25:40 is based on the principles of doing local mission work by helping those who are in need of the basics: food, clothing, shelter, and prayer. Any mission work is based on those characteristics. However, the really neat thing is that this includes evangelism. So how do we start to evangelize? By going to those in our towns who don’t have the basic items to survive. When we help those to get back on their feet by first helping them with food, water, and shelter, then we are also living out Jesus in front of them as we share that Jesus is the bread of life and the living water, and he has gone to prepare a place for us. Our goal at Street Ministries 25:40 is to help as many as we can. We also seek to open the door for Bible study  and for becoming active members of the Lord’s church!
We are a for profit ministry because we want to do this full-time, following Paul’s example in 1 Thess. 2:9 and 2 Thess. 3:8. We are also an independent ministry and not under any one church or organization (though we do have the blessing of our current eldership). This provides more flexibility and the ability to go, do, and serve as needed. Additionally, we have items for purchase, which help fund the many ways that we have helped individuals and families. When someone buys a T-shirt or hoodie, another one will be donated to someone in need. We have our Judas coin bracelet, which includes a short devo explaining the use of the coin, and the proceeds go toward helping with food, utility bills, etc. Proceeds from the caps we sell also help with the many different needs that arise. We have helped with food, clothing, utility bills, gas for medical visits, and even a baptistry for our friends, Clay and Mary Mason, to use in their work in Trinidad, Colorado.
Street Ministries 25:40 can partner with small churches by providing a weekend training that covers how to conduct a Bible study and how to open the door to local missions and evangelism by doing hands-on work in the community. For more information, please email us or find Street Ministries 25:40 on Facebook.
Small churches can make a difference. Jesus did so with just 12 men, and also Jesus himself was homeless. We can do real church in the real world!
 Personally, I do not have a problem with foreign missions, as my brother and his family spent nearly four years on the mission field in Estonia.
 We did have a training class at our home congregation to teach people how to lead a study.