On any given night in America, more than 550,000 people are homeless.

To put that in perspective—that’s more than 8 times the capacity of Gillette Stadium, home of the SuperBowl Champion New England Patriots. It’s more than the number of people who live in all of Sacramento, California, or Tucson, Arizona.  

That number includes men, women and children—each with a unique story.

And while the number of those who are experiencing homelessness has declined by some 100,000 people since 2007, there is still work to be done. And it’s work The Salvation Army, for one, is committed to.

That’s why we turn to people like Chris Christian.

Chris was homeless on the streets of Santa Barbara, California, for nearly 5 years. He and his wife slept in their van—and eventually a tent.

Chris was a lawyer for more than 20 years prior to that. But he was called to ministry—and he found it in the midst of homelessness.

Today on the show, Chris shares what it really means to be homeless, how it feels and what the hardest part about it is. He talks about his own crisis of faith in feeling abandoned—and how the stories of struggle and pain that we see reflected in so many biblical characters became his story.

He reveals insight and compassion for those without a place to call home and he lets us in on the way out of homelessness.

What it's Really Like to be Homeless Chris Christian

Show highlights include:

  • Story of Job: Chris’s favorite story in the Bible and how he identifies with it.
  • Range of emotions resulted in Chris coming to know and love God, and having compassion for people hurting and in distress.
  • Searching for the truth, and why law school created a crisis of conscience.
  • Chris was called to teach and preach God’s word, and learned he can’t pursue financial security as a means to minister.
  • Trust that God will provide what you need; you are not alone.
  • Starbucks: Not enough money to buy coffee, but a place to go and be inside.
  • Defining divine encounters and discovering kindness of strangers.
  • The hardest part of being homeless is having no purpose in life, only existing.
  • Surrender and accept what may not be what you envisioned, but what God planned for you.
  • Reasons for people being homeless vary; not a one-size-fits-all solution available.
  • Doctors, lawyers, other professionals…anyone can have all the material wealth they could want, only to lose everything and become homeless.
  • The Salvation Army: More than bell ringers and thrift stores; Hospitality House and shelters help people experiencing homelessness and more.
  • Satisfaction of coming full-circle thanks to street-level ministry and fellowship
  • Do Gooder: Being functional for the purpose for which you exist

Homelessness Quote Chris Christian

Good words from Chris Christian in this show:

“He wanted to know why, as we all do, when we are hurting…why did God let this happen? But he did not curse God. The Bible says he kept his integrity in his heart.”

“Law school made me have a thirst for God. Law school made me search for the truth.”

“There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The reasons for people being homeless vary.”

Additional resources:

Download this episode wherever you get your podcasts. Connect with Chris Christian via The Salvation Army in Santa Barbara, California.

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