Springs Rescue Mission began 22 years ago when our founders started feeding hungry and struggling neighbors in city parks. As faithful servants of Christ, they offered each meal as an expression of God’s love and an invitation to begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
From these humble beginnings came a small food and clothes pantry as well as a house for men’s addiction recovery, now known as the New Life Program.
Built on the scriptural foundations of truth and grace, the men in our New Life Program were both softened by God’s grace and held accountable to the truth of God’s Word. Many began to embrace the changes that would allow them to thrive. We found that, despite having a community of men with different stories, a common spiritual bond was able to transform lives.
At the time, homelessness in our community was growing rapidly. City leaders were desperately seeking partners to help fight homelessness. The legalization of marijuana further complicated a growing community problem as people began to move to Colorado to legally use marijuana. Panhandling seemed to increase dramatically and the issue of homelessness was becoming more and more visible in our community.
Springs Rescue Mission developed a series of community commitments based on Scripture that have shaped our programmatic expansion over the past few years. Flowing from God’s love and provision, these commitments helped position us as a strong community partner to serve people experiencing homelessness and addiction.
These commitments include:
- Welcoming guests and residents “as they are”
- Providing a welcoming and safe environment which promotes transformation and empowerment
- Presenting God’s grace, truth, and healing in word and deed
- Treating guests and residents respectfully and with dignity
- Providing pathways out of homelessness
- Providing life-sustaining services like housing, health services, and work
- Providing access to additional services and solutions beyond those available on our campus
The Mission’s shelter is what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) calls a “low-barrier” shelter, meaning guests are not turned away based on sobriety. Though it is a low barrier shelter, we focus on finding and offering the services guests need to address their spiritual, mental and physical health.
As a Christian organization, we truly believe we are commanded to love God and love our neighbors. With the Holy Spirit’s help, our staff and volunteers work hard to develop relationships with people who seem to have lost all hope. We work hard to create a community where everyone feels welcome.
So far, God has blessed our efforts to meet people exactly where they in a loving, Christlike manner.
We have shelter beds for 450 adult men and women. We serve over 750 meals to our guests in a 65-seat dining room each day. We also have a resource center with 16 showers and eight washers and dryers, and we have client navigators who direct our guests to mental, dental, and physical health services on our campus.
Twenty-three partner agencies operate on our campus, each with their own areas of expertise and funding sources. Creating a campus of people experiencing every type of mental illness, trauma addiction, and loss of hope has been challenging, but we do it because, with God’s help, we can be ambassadors of His love, grace, and mercy.
God uses all of us to lead our communities to serve neighbors in need. Neighbors whom God loves and created in His image. Their value doesn’t come from what they can or can’t do or what they have or don’t have. Their value comes from the sacrifice God made when He sent His son to die for us.
Because of the visibility of homelessness in our nation and cities, we have an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love and mercy to neighbors that many people would consider worthless. We can mobilize the church in our community to demonstrate Christ’s love in action.
In one of my favorite TED Talks, Johann Hari made the bold proclamation after 15 years of studying addiction that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, but relationship and community. I’ve seen it work many times and we’ll continue to focus on developing relationships with people who have lost all hope. Together, we can create a community where everyone feels welcome, regardless of what situation or struggle they’re facing.
Whoever God brings to us, we’ll greet them with service and seek to build genuine relationships in every way we can. After all, it is in relationship with Christ that we all will find freedom.