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Rescuing the Homeless in Atlanta

{youtube}1eJxC5NsUuE{/youtube} Like most other U.S. churches, Rescue Atlanta Church led by pastors Mel and Teresa Rolls has services twice a week, on Sundays and at midweek. But that’s where the similarities end.


Roughly 70 percent of Rescue Atlanta’s members are homeless and another 25 percent are from troubled inner-city neighborhoods. A hot breakfast is served before Sunday services and a warm lunch before midweek Bible study. In addition to a food pantry, the church has laundry and shower facilities, as well as a clothes closet and medical clinic.


“I really believe the success of what we’ve done in the 21 years we’ve been doing this is that we get into their lives to where we earn the right to speak into their lives,” says Mel Rolls, an Assemblies of God minister. “They see we’re their friends. We’re not trying to herd them into church. We want them to trust us, then trust the message, then they follow.”


Despite the unique makeup of Rescue Atlanta, the Rollses encourage church members to serve others. They support missionaries worldwide and members have been sponsoring children in Haiti since long before the January earthquake. After flooding wreaked havoc in Georgia last September, teams of homeless men from Rescue Atlanta helped families who had lost everything. “The congregation is amazing,” Rolls says. “They give. We receive an offering every time we have a service. No one feels like they have to give, but they do give.”


 


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