Jesus says: "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." (Matthew 9:37)
We rejoice in seeing so many of our homeless brothers become coworkers in the Lord's vineyard with us! Whether through lending their voices in beautiful songs of praise with the Stepping Stone Choir Team, leading some of our weekly Bible studies, spreading the Gospel, or sharing the love of Christ in serving the community, these servants have received the grace of our Lord Jesus to be saved through faith and called upon as His disciples to walk into His good work. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Our brothers stay in shelters, abandoned buildings, and public parks, under bridges, or on the streets, and we believe our Lord will use them as His disciples for bringing others into His Kingdom through these important mission fields.
Every Wednesday and Friday, we hold Bible study sessions to train and disciple 15 to 20 homeless leaders. Bible studies are led by pastors and other ministers who serve on our teaching team. Training participants are brothers with a willing heart for active rehabilitation and growing in faith. After the training, we encourage them to serve others.
On Wednesdays, brothers join us to study God's Word and enjoy fellowship and food together. This is largely done through a partnership with the Atlanta Mission. On Fridays, brothers join us to partake in the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer's food ministry followed by a study of God's Word and enjoyment of food and fellowship. Many of the brothers also become practicing members of our Stepping Stone Choir Team through these weekly sessions.
Through this training, our homeless brothers read and memorize Bible verses and consider how the verses apply to their everyday life. They engage in group discussions about their own journeys and share examples with each other about the Lord’s work in their lives. And, they find true fellowship with each other, being bound together in the Holy Spirit.
Training sessions are held at Redeemer's Mission House in Atlanta, GA with the exception of third Wednesdays when our brothers meet at Peace Lutheran Church in Decatur, GA. At Peace, our brothers are not only provided opportunities to engage in Bible study but to also fellowship with church members. Transportation is provided to and from the training sites.
Thanks be to God for Atlanta Mission, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, and Peace Lutheran Church for their partnership in these discipleship ministries.
Stepping Stone hosts a Rehabilitation and Spiritual Leadership Training Retreat two-to-four times each year. The program is three days long and the trainees are selected from the brothers who participate in training programs on Wednesdays and Fridays as well as brothers referred by these brothers. The purpose is to further equip them for their discipleship and service to the Lord. Trainees engage in active learning through sessions taught by pastors and other ministers serving in churches throughout the Atlanta region.
Pastors and ministers join the retreat each year and volunteer their time to teach and disciple the trainees. The retreats are held at Daniel Prayer Garden and, in addition to receiving God's Word, with the kind contributions provided by many church partners, participants are provided with food and other life necessities during the retreat. Transportation is provided to and from the retreat.
Stepping Stone often hosts a Youth Homeless Experience Short-Term Mission Trip during our summer retreat times which involves engaging high school or college youth in service opportunities with our homeless leaders.
Twenty three retreats have been held to date. Through these retreats, more than 400 homeless brothers have completed the program and 32 brothers have been baptized into Christ becoming children of God.
Our trainees have shared how they are enjoying their new life in Christ and feel better equipped to serve Him. As a result of the spiritual transformation and newfound stability they receive through the training, some trainees are successful in getting back to work in a new job and others have fulfilled their call to serve in other vocations provided by the Lord. Some trainees also still actively participate as essential members of our Stepping Stone Mission ministry team. These brothers help form, gather, and nurture group members with the Gospel using the teaching that they themselves have received from pastors and ministers as their witnesses.
GLORY TO GOD!!!
God has blessed me with peace and more understanding of His Word. It just gets better and better with me. I learned more completely about Jesus, what He came to do and how it affects the entire earth. It does not matter where you come from and what you did, God still loves you and wants you to know Him and learn from Him. I learned that no matter what is haunting me or troubling me, or what is on my mind, God is the author and finisher of my faith. God is in control and God is love!
God has blessed me through my time at this retreat in the following ways. One it has enabled me to fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ in an environment that is conducive for worship. Two, this retreat has placed me in an environment that is serene and cut off from the world whereby allowing me time that is necessary to reflect on what is important through God’s perspective. I have learned the following at this retreat. One, I have learned that I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. Two, I have learned to let go of past mistakes and not let it weigh down my progress. I have learned to repent and move on. Three, I have learned to focus on God.
Through the Bible study, it was confirmed in my spirit that God has no regrets even of me. Through my chronic depression, heart ache, physical pain and just all together brokenness, that despite all that I was still chosen. I came here to talk to God and to be spoken to by God. This was my desert experience and I enjoyed it greatly.
God has blessed me through my time by coming into my heart and bringing me to something that I have never experienced before. This experience is also something that I did not see coming in front of me. There is a reason why God has brought me here and I am for happy for what He has done.
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