The Heart Behind the Ministry
By Lindsey Lee, Be Bold Street Ministry - Carolinas
The vision for this ministry started 3 years ago after my twin sister, Cam, had a burden on her heart for reaching out to the homeless. Rewind to Senior year of high school, my family and I were in Nashville for spring break. My twin sister and I both saw a sweet old man who was homeless pulling food out of the trash can and immediately our hearts broke. We had both never reached out to the homeless community because of the preconceived stigmas placed on them by the world. My sister, Cam, was so moved by the Lord at this point that she started a homeless ministry at her college and got a program up and running to love this population so well in Jesus’ name. Lives were finally being touched and impacted by the team that would go downtown to Athens, Georgia on Friday nights and walk the streets.
This past summer in 2020, I was able to take part in heading downtown to “hit the streets” in Athens. It was for the sole purpose of building relationships which led to breakthroughs in Jesus’ name. I was able to meet men by the names of, Mr. James, Mr. Martin, Mr. Murphy, and the list goes on. These are just a few of the incredible people with stories that would leave you in tears. The Lord truly refined my heart and prepared my heart for what ministry looks like and the heart behind loving and serving people so well in Jesus’ name. From there, the Lord casted this vision on my heart for a ministry in Greenville which would go and “hit the streets”. We would be geared towards homeless people but not limited to just homeless because everyone needs to hear the Gospel message. My prayer for the ministry originated from Acts 2:2, in hopes that the Holy Spirit would come and flood downtown Greenville in a mighty rushing wind of His presence and wherever else the Lord would lead us. Immediately, the Lord started moving and working in mighty and abundant ways. Our first team meeting consisted of about fifteen people and at the time I thought that was a lot. Little did I know that the Lord would grow the ministry to over two- hundred people in four months. At the time we were named L.O.T. Ministries out of Matthew 25:40, “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to do the extent that you did it to one of these of mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me’.” The first three weeks of meetings were geared towards preparing and equipping people for the streets to share the lifesaving transformational message of Jesus. The team started building week by week from 15 people to 20 to 30 and the list goes on. When we started “hitting the streets” there was a chain reaction at North Greenville University of people hearing the transformational stories on the streets and wanting to get involved. I distinctly remember talking to a friend who was very timid to go on a Friday night and do ministry, but it was incredible how the Lord worked. Where he once was timid, now has a heart so burdened and heavy to hit the streets and love people so well in Jesus name which also applies to the whole team.
The team started to gain traction and more and more people got involved. A leadership team was formed, and in January 2021 we partnered with Be Bold Street Ministries based out of Salem, Oregon. We are officially the first East Coast chapter in the nonprofit. The Lord continues to blow our minds and leave us in awe of His faithfulness. By partnering with Be Bold from Salem, Oregon, we have been able to grow this ministry and branch out while teaming up and working on one accord, with one mission, and one mindset. We have been able to grow from once a small group of fifteen college students to now over 200 praying, giving, serving with different committees and branches which run different operations under the ministry.
The root of everything is Jesus; every aspect of life stems from Him. If we look at people and do not have a heart of compassion for them when they are in their lowest of moments then shame on us. If we are too content with being comfortable then change will never happen. It takes us being uncomfortable to make a change happen. It takes us being willing to take a step of faith knowing people might look at you differently but being confident enough knowing where your identity lies in Jesus so that you can walk boldly. At the end of the day, every soul desires to hear the truth of the Gospel message but often we can become so numb to the greatest message of our years because we build up these walls and barriers. However, the same transformational power and the same desire to hear the word of God is the same as when Jesus was walking the earth and the same when Paul and Barnabas were out on their missionary journeys. Acts 13 explains how Gentiles and Jews came running to Paul and Barnabas after they preached the Gospel message in the synagogue and were begging them to share the Gospel message the following Sunday because their souls desired it. In the same way the Jews and Gentiles desired to hear this message. It is the same way that our souls desire to hear this message.
When we hit the streets, we must grasp the concept; that yes, these people may be walking through some of the hardest times in their lives, but their souls still thirst for the word of God even if there is lack of interest because that is how we were designed. We serve a God who is good and faithful; He has never left us, and He never will. For that reason, it is our task to give this good news to those who have never heard it. That is the heart behind the ministry and that is why we do what we do.
Who is Be Bold Street Ministries?
Be Bold Street Ministries is an organization driven to see Jesus Christ glorified and shared with anyone around them with a primary focus on the homeless population.
Be Bold builds relationships with the homeless and helps connect them to organizations that will serve them well. Whether it be rehab, transitional housing, and job opportunities, Be Bold seeks to proclaim the gospel through action by relationships.
How did L.O.T. (Least of These) Ministries get involved?
The Least of These Ministry began with a small group of around 10-15 college students in September of 2020 who were interested in taking teams out to serve the local homeless population. Seeing the need for relationship building overtime with the street family, L.O.T. separated itself from the pack by sitting with and having genuine conversations with the homeless in Greenville, SC. Overtime, traction began to grow as students were hearing the stories of what was taking place in their friends' lives by going downtown to serve. A leadership team soon formed and started casting vision for events, structure, and strategic coordination of the serve nights. Through partnerships and divine appointments, it became known that God was moving the ministry.
After a leadership meeting in November, L.O.T. was looking for opportunities to expand to different college campuses by means of chapter creation. The idea behind chapter creation is that college students have more time available to be able to serve and work out their skills and faith than the average person. By starting up and running a similar ministry students could experience the similar things that we were in their local community. A college chapter devoted to homeless ministry is also unheard of which is why they were being called to be the first-movers in this way. Knowing the impact that the ministry was having on the local community they wanted to change their name to meet a larger audience.
One of the key phrases that had been coined since the beginning was, 'Be Bold' in Jesus' name. After searching the name, 'Be Bold', L.O.T. came across the Be Bold Street Ministries page where they witnessed the incredible testimonies of two men, Matt Maceira and Josh Lair. The video demonstrated their passion for serving Christ fueled by real encounters with the Holy Spirit which broke the strongholds of their past addictions. From there, after hearing their heart and seeing their motives, the students knew that they needed to reach out and tell them about the shared passions as well...so they did. After an email was sent, a call came in 10 minutes later that read, 'Salem, Oregon', it was Josh. After talking about the ministries that God has laid on each of their hearts, Josh mentioned that it was earlier in the day that the leadership team in Salem just got out of a meeting where they brainstormed ideas about college chapter creation. With hearts unified to serve combined with this divine appointment, both knew that it would be an amazing partnership directed by God alone through the Holy Spirit by Jesus Christ.