Part of millennials understanding their identity in Christ is BOTH knowing Jesus' heart for the people in need AND doing something about it. Every year we host a party where millennials are not just blessed by the ministry but get a chance to give back (and hopefully have fun doing it). Cru's Christmas for a Cause highlights a social issue each year and seeks to shed light on it, resource millennials to act in a Christ-like way and give back to these causes. This year we focused on homelessness, something that every New Yorker encounters on a daily, if not hourly basis. It was fitting that on the night of our event, the temperature dropped to 15 degrees, and was the coldest night of our winter so far.
Our panel included two men who are in full-time Christian ministry to homeless people in the city, and one millennial woman, who has started her own non-profit that clothes and befriends homeless people in Brooklyn. I was personally encouraged hearing how these amazing people show Christ in truth and grace to homeless people every day. They talked about the tricky issue of enabling, and how to point people in need to Christian resources in the city, because there are many. They even challenged people, when the situation is safe, to sit down and share a meal with a homeless person. Perhaps the strongest message was that what these women and men struggling with homelessness really need is not money or food, but relationship.
Millennials were also very generous and gave $3768 to the causes of four non-profits in the city. This was double what was raised last year! The "I am Known" campaign, one of the non-profits at the benefit, was started by a millennial named Yvonne in Brooklyn. They hand out these sweatshirts with survival packs to the homeless in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The slogan "I am Known" refers to the fact that God sees and knows ALL people and that He deeply longs to be in relationship with them. Not only do they hand out the sweatshirts, but they also offer to pray and chat with the people receiving them. Last week, a pastor wrote to us that many homeless people wearing these sweatshirts showed up at her church this week! God used the generosity of millennials to give, the compassion of millennials to serve and clothe and the connection of millennials to bring someone to church. How exciting!