Matthew 25:31-40 is very clear about how we are to respond to the needs of the poor and destitute among us. At the International Baptist Church, Stuttgart, Germany, we are engaged in service to the needy in our community through ministry and outreach efforts.
Every Saturday since October 2022, members of Fusion, our young adults ministry, volunteer with the German chapter of the Salvation Army in an operation called Project 25. They minister to the homeless members of our local community by providing for physical and prayer needs and serving meals, as well as playing music and singing to lift up their spirits.
Fusion realized the impact they were having was something that the rest of our church body could also participate in. So they connected with our Hospitality Ministry to collaborate on a first-ever churchwide service opportunity over Thanksgiving and Christmas 2022.
More than 100 members of IBC Stuttgart assembled to prepare, package, and deliver nearly 150 meals and donations of gloves, hats, scarves, and socks over the winter holiday period to support the homeless. Church leadership identified the need to make this a consistent, quarterly outreach event with the Salvation Army for all of the church body to participate in. Donations are now rolling in every week, and the Fusion team and Hospitality Ministry are working on a strategy of how to effectively organize this growing multi-ministry outreach.
Additionally, another group of church members have assembled in response to the homeless in our community. A four-member team meets weekly to walk down the Königstrasse in central Stuttgart and through areas of nearby Bad Cannstatt, where the homeless frequently congregate. During the walks, they distribute sandwiches, butter pretzels, and hot tea and coffee. These items provide comfort, demonstrate care and kindness, and meet an immediate physical need in accordance with Christ’s instruction.
While homeless members of the local community often present multiple limitations and issues that contribute to their ability to secure food and shelter, there is a light and hope in the darkness.
At the Christoph-Ulrich-Hahn-Haus in Stuttgart, a total of 70 homeless men and women – most of whom suffer from substance addiction or other illnesses – find a refuge and hope in rehabilitation. Thanks to some dedicated members of IBC Stuttgart, each Wednesday evening the residents of this shelter can also connect with the gospel over some coffee and cake. Our “Hahnhaus” outreach has been going on for several years, and currently the Alpha Course is being provided to residents who want to know who Jesus is and discover what they can about the foundations of our faith.
This outreach effort and the other endeavors that our church members are engaged with continue to plant seeds of faith and hope to members of the local community with the greatest needs. To God be the glory!