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Contact: Nicole Daniels
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Church members challenged anew to engage with the poor
AGRM’s Invisible Neighbors multi-media resource aims to foster compassionate action
Colorado Springs, Colo. (September 26, 2011)—The Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) announced Monday the launch of Invisible Neighbors, a multi-media campaign designed to inform and inspire individuals in North America’s churches to be actively and regularly involved in service toward the poor and the growing homeless population.
Written by AGRM President John Ashmen and produced by Cross Section — publishers of 40 Days of Purpose, The Hole in Our Gospel and One Month to Live — Invisible Neighbors study guides and DVDs are now available through AGRM member organizations and online at www.invisibleneighbors.org.
"Invisible Neighbors is not your typical Bible study, but rather a resource designed to compel people to action," Ashmen said. "It pushes readers toward continual discovery and intervention in the lives of the poor, and specifically encourages and empowers them to be advocates in their neighborhoods, and to ultimately participate in rescue mission ministry."
Ashmen said that even though the church shows general concern and is somewhat involved in providing assistance, the average church attender does not really know how to meaningfully engage with those in need. Additionally, many congregations believe that the government should monitor and handle societal woes. Invisible Neighbors counters that with Jesus’ instructions and other biblical mandates that call on the church to make the needs of the poor a priority.
Invisible Neighbors was designed for church, college, youth and other small groups. The 18-section study guide blends narrative, history lessons and current statistics with important biblical perspectives. Each section is followed by a set of questions that prompts readers to share feelings and viewpoints, and helps them develop stances based on God’s truth. For further study, readers can pursue additional suggested activities. In addition to the book and DVD, a Web site and Facebook page help participants from different parts of the country connect with each other and share their insights, activities and stories.
Wess Stafford, Rebecca St. James, Mike Yankoski and other Christian leaders and social justice advocates have endorsed Invisible Neighbors.
“This series goes beyond the textbook into the real world of what is taking place today and how the body of Christ should respond in light of what Scripture reveals,” said Tony Campolo, noted pastor, author and sociologist. “Every church needs this series.”
Marcia Pally, university professor and author of America’s New Evangelicals said, “Invisible Neighbors describes how a new wave of evangelicals is standing up for a gospel that doesn't try to duck social justice and is taking very seriously its God-given commission to care for the poor. If taken to heart and implemented by the church at large, the lessons from Invisible Neighbors will make a major difference in North America’s cities and beyond.”
Founded in 1913, Colorado Springs-based AGRM is North America’s oldest and largest network of independent crisis shelters and rehabilitation centers, offering radical hospitality in the name of Jesus. With about 275 member missions, AGRM exists to proclaim the passion of Jesus toward the hungry, homeless, abused and addicted, and to accelerate quality and effectiveness in member missions. For more information or to locate an AGRM member organization, see www.agrm.org, or call (719) 266-8300.