Room in the Inn – What to Expect
Every winter, dozens of churches in the Jackson area participate in the “Room in the Inn” program, which seeks to provide temporary shelter for homeless men in Jackson. It is coordinated by Area Relief Ministries (ARM). First Baptist has long been a partner in this ministry. If you or your Life Group volunteers to help, here is a brief summary of what you can expect:
5:30 p.m. – A volunteer from FBC takes the church bus to pick up the men from ARM. The goal is to be back at the church by 6:00.
5:45-6:00 – The men arrive and place their cots in the gym.
6:00 – FBC provides dinner for the men and any volunteers who are there. This dinner takes place outside the gym. It is wise to plan for 10-15 guests plus volunteers. Note: Most classes choose to have a brief devotional before dinner. This is encouraged (remember, it is not just their physical hunger we’re trying to relieve!), but not mandatory.
After dinner – The men will stay up and chat in the space outside the gym until they decide to go to bed. It is typical to turn on the television in that area (sports is usually a safe option) and they will watch it until lights out. Volunteers who are not staying the night may clean up from dinner and leave, provided there are at least two male volunteers to stay with the men.
10:00 – Lights out. It is wise to keep one hallway light on for men who need to use the restroom. Most of the men will go to bed well before 10:00, so it might be wise to turn the lights out before 10:00. (It is customary to keep at least half of the gym dark, even before lights out.)
5:15 a.m. – FBC provides breakfast for the men. It is good to keep this simple and give them things they can take with them, such as fruit or prepackaged snacks in addition to the breakfast that is served.
5:45 – An FBC volunteer takes the men back to ARM in the church bus.
Things FBC is expected to provide:
- Transportation to and from ARM
- Dinner (and possible devotion) for 10-15 men and any volunteers
- At least 2 men to stay the night at the church (This is absolutely necessary)
- Breakfast for 10-15 men and any volunteers
Typically, FBC Life Groups have chosen one or more nights to cover Room in the Inn. If a Life Group can only provide some of the services necessary (e.g. they can stay the night but cannot provide a meal), it is encouraged to work together with other Life Groups to cover all the needs on any given night. It is not necessary, however, that these nights be covered solely by Life Groups. If any individual wishes to participate, there is room enough to help out any night that FBC is scheduled to host. This year, FBC will be hosting on these nights: November 1, December 6, January 3, February 7, and March 7.
To sign up to volunteer, please see the sign-up sheet at the Welcome Center.