Our location: 211 W. Monroe St., South Bend, IN
Our guests this year will be able to eat at Hope Ministries next door and then line up to come into Project Warm. They will begin to come in at 8:00. We have a path of encouragement that allows those who are willing to serve and set up to come in early. That system will be started after the first week. This builds incentive and a sense of ownership for the community that helps us keep peace and provides opportunity for leadership. After we get this list going, some will be able to come in earlier. (This explains why some are waiting outside and some are inside.) It is an honor system.
Volunteers should arrive at 7:30 and then gather to pray for the evening. You are free to invite the guests and staff to pray with you. Some will want to jump in. The staff are often busy at this time checking in guests, however.
- Volunteers should arrive at 7:30. You can set up your snack at this time. Go in the front door. Knock if it is still locked. It shouldn’t be.
- Gather to pray together and with any staff or guests who want to join you. Pray for peace and God’s authority over the evening.
- 8:15 (or when the men are checked in) Call people in for the message of encouragement or activity
- 8:30 Fellowship and follow up prayer ministry time. It’s ok to go in the sleeping room and ask if anyone would like prayer in there.
- 9:00 Volunteers usually leave by this time. It’s not set in stone.
There are three main areas that volunteers at Project WARM engage in:
VOLUNTEER SIGN UP (The “how to”) – The “Volunteer!” link at the top goes to a calendar that will show what nights are available. We expect that people WILL register and not just come nightly and hang around. You may be removed if you do this. We want to know who is ministering to the guests.
There is a “snack” opening, and two other volunteer slots. Click on the one you want. If you have a group, you could do snack and the volunteer slot. (You can just write in the comments what you can do after picking one.) If you have been to Project Warm before and you, or one of your group, would like to give a message that evening (short devotion), please indicate that in the comments section so we know that is covered. If you’d like a call to answer questions, let us know.
Note: If you specify that you have a group coming and that you will take charge of the devotion, we will mark both volunteer slots filled. We give message preferences to those who come regularly and know the men. If you have not specified in the comments that you are planning on giving the message, if a regular volunteer comes, they may have a message prepared and will be the ones to share it. Communication is important 🙂 If there is no regular volunteer and you are not comfortable giving the devotion, ask a staff member do it or just read a scripture and offer to pray for those who have needs. Staff is present, but often busy at check in time. They can help with questions, but won’t have time to train volunteers on what to do. This is your training – reading. Ask questions here or partner with others who have come before if needed.
Provide a Light Snack – Do you like to make food and serve hungry, thankful people? We will feed the men every night light snacks or a dessert. We’ve had all kinds of things: banana pudding, brownies, cookies, mandarine oranges, bananas, cakes, chips, dip, and soup. There is not a right or wrong here.
We have 30 each night. Light snacks / or dessert should be prepared for 33+ people to include our Hope staff, and you, of course. Most will have already eaten at Hope within the last hour. They can always take snacks with them as well. It’s great to fellowship over food. Bring the things you will need to serve, including paper plates or bowls, plastic utensils, and napkins. (You can serve cookies or breads off of napkins.) Donations of 8 oz. foam cups is always appreciated and used for water at night and coffee in the morning.
3. Give a short message – What you have received you can freely give. Pray ahead to hear God’s heart for the evening. You may not know all the men’s needs or backgrounds, but God does. Let him lead you. You may share a testimony or song, a scripture or a short message.
1) Open with prayer
2) Get comfortable, be relaxed
3) Share what God has given you.
Message Content: It’s very basic: a presentation of a scripture and then a brief interpretation identifying how grace is offered in the story followed by an invitation or an example of how grace is offered in our world. Drawing people to Christ and to the Gospel should be the focus. Reveal his grace, reveal who he is, reveal who he made us to be. Plant seeds of purpose and hope.
Alternative – Bring a talent! Music and worship – Bring the presence of God in through songs! Songs stick in our minds and leave hope. What would bring joy into the atmosphere? (Avoid secular songs UNLESS you will be adding scripture to show why you picked it). Old simple Jesus hymns or Amazing Grace are timeless and loved, but new songs are great too. Simple board games or cards help get relationships going. A skit can give some laughs and share a message. What can you or your group do? We are flexible! We want God to break into this ministry and these men’s lives this year. How is God calling you to help in that?
Fellowship: You may choose to come and “spend time”. This is valuable. Get to know a few of the guys personally. Pray for them, follow up and see how they are doing. Pray at home. The most popular volunteers are those who come regularly. They see your investment in them and feel Christ’s love.
The “Store”: We hand out donated items as needed to the guests. We ask that groups NOT go into the store and give out jeans to everyone who asks. Don’t put the teenagers in there please. This is best for mature people who can say no, if they have to. Since we will have many needs we have to be brave enough and comfortable enough to let them know that we have few, so if they already have two pair, we don’t give out more. They have to deal with washing them. Socks and underwear are popular items. Please consult with staff, Steve, Anne or Dana, or Edward before you give out coats or gloves. There are reasons for this. Don’t let compassion override wisdom. We may have someone come two minutes later who just got out of jail, for instance, who has nothing at all. It’s hard to say no, but sometimes it is the right thing to do.
Who can/should volunteer?
Note – This is a group of men who have all kinds of backgrounds. We are a low-barrier shelter, meaning there are no drug tests to get in. The men are patted down for safety, however. Inside Project Warm, we offer a safe environment covered in prayer with staff to maintain order. But, things can happen that may be disturbing for some, including words flying or the occasional outburst. So, with that in mind, consider who you bring.
Children/Teens – Many ask whether kids can come. Use caution in this area. We are a low-barrier shelter. There will usually be some very drunk, or high men there. There is some order, of course, but we have no guarantees on what they will say. We also want to avoid distraction to the ministry at hand. We do have some amazing youth/teens who make snacks and serve. I’d recommend middle school or older for new volunteers. The men love to see their potential and are inspired by them. In reality, it is hard to have deep conversations and pray for people when you have to keep an eye on your kids. But, if the kids can sit and play checkers, or Uno (bring your own), that would be ok. No toddlers or pre-schoolers please.
Women – Use discernment on what you wear. A sweater or sweatshirt and jeans works great. No low shirts or cleavage showing please. Avoid tight revealing clothes. It can be hard to focus on a message when there is too much to look at. 🙂 You want to be respected for what you say, so dress with respect for them as well.
4. Prayer Partners – Anyone with faith in Jesus can help in this way. Here is a guide:
a. Pray as the men gather from 6-7 p.m. for God’s presence to fill the church, for the men and for the volunteers and staff.
b. Pray from 7-9 p.m. for the Holy Spirit to move the volunteers to see what Jesus sees and for hearts to be open to God.
c. Pray late at night, for the words the men have heard to minister to them as they sleep.
d. Pray early in the morning, and anytime, that God will reveal Himself to them and that they would surrender their lives to Christ and/or look at Him all over again, without the deception or lies we learn as Satan twists our view of faith and religion. Pray that they would come to know the freedom and joy that faith brings.
e. Pray for God to send workers filled with the Holy Spirit and ready to be open to God’s work through them and in them.
f. Pray for those who would give, that they would hear God’s voice as He leads and act.