Julie Broderson calls the homeless friends. As Pastor of Missions at Centenary United Methodist Church (UMC), she helps her congregation re-discover God’s mission for the world by seeing the less fortunate in the local and global communities.
“My job is not so much to be on the front lines of ministry, as to get church members comfortable with doing ministry themselves,” she said.
Her role is a kaleidoscope of many beautiful pieces that includes working with 15 global partners, refugee resettlement, homeless ministries, after-school mentoring, Habitat for Humanity, God’s Pantry and missionary training.
Not only does Julie encourage others to serve, she helps them discover where God’s call and their passion intersect. Using a program called SHAPE, she helps individuals explore their spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality and experiences.
“I help people peel back another layer of what God’s doing in their lives,” Julie said. “I want to help them hear God’s voice more clearly to obey Him in this season of life in that particular moment.”
To do that, Julie encourages folks to participate in various types of ministries. One of these is serving the local homeless population.
Thirteen years ago, Julie and Centenary created a homeless ministry model called Room in the Inn, based on Room in the Inn Nashville. Today 26 congregations provide shelter and food to 24 homeless men nightly from November to March.
This outreach is a citywide initiative and open to any Christian community. Each congregation brings the homeless men into their church, treats them like an honored guest, and feeds them family style. They are given breakfast and a sack lunch the following day before moving on to the next church.
“These guys became our friends,” Julie said. “We met people who were just like us, except that their addictions and challenges had made them lose their homes. This has become a much-loved ministry from November to March.”
Centenary UMC doesn’t just focus on local needs, but also global. Currently, they have 15 global relationships. The Centenary community has helped to re-settle four refugee families, their most recent being a Syrian family.