Friday, February 20, 2009

Marketing Homelessness

Around December, a couple of us at C3 met some guys who were living under an overpass at Highway 6 and I-10 here in Houston. It started with a conversation and some lunch, and has grown to a chance for us to get to know a small group of guys in that area. There's John, Tim, Bobby, Wolf, Billy (who was travelling through),  and several others that our peeps have had short conversations with. 

Over the course of the last few months, we have endeavored to live out the gospel with these guys. Sometimes that has meant hot meals or warm clothes or medicine.Sometimes it has been conversations about Christ's love for them.  Sometimes it has simply been conversations about our love for them. We sure haven't done everything right; we're just trying to learn as we go.

I haven't written about this before now because we don't want accolades or media coverage; we love because Christ loves us. There should never be an "agenda" when you build a relationship with someone- they are a human, not a conquest. Do I share with the hope that the guys who don't already claim Christ as Savior decide at some point that they want to follow Him? Of course. But seriously- I want that for everybody. And yes, we want to help these guys get off the streets, but sometimes that involves them making some difficult choices.

So, why write about it now? Good question. The answer goes back to our friend Tim and a website that is centered around him.

Last week I was talking with Bobby, and he mentioned that some guys had stopped by and asked he and Tim if they would like to help them with an experiment in viral advertising.  These guys are a father and son marketing team, and they wanted the guys to hold up a sign on the street corner advertising a website on which donations could be made to help the guys out. Tim was the first to agree and was promised one hundred dollars from the marketers, plus all the revenue generated by the site. The website's name? I'll let Tim show you:

Yes, it does say ""

Actually there's more to it than this. I'm sure you can find the site if you want to take a look.

Alrighty.  So I really want to know what you think about this. I'm all for Tim getting off the street- rock on.  And I love the idea of other organizations getting involved in the lives of these guys- I am getting to know some really awesome folks at the Bridgewater Church that are doing just that. 

This however is really just a very different thing than I've ever experienced. The guys who created the website say they're "Using Internet Marketing to Fight Poverty." So what do you think? Is this a great way to increase awarness and help get these guys off the street? Is it exploitation of people like Tim? 

I really would appreciate hearing your take.

In Him We Live,


P.S.- If you want to comment, please remember that a believer's behavior reflects Christ to our world. Thanks!