Best Practices


Be there to Serve – Focus on the people, be willing to do what is asked, instead of telling the organization what things you are going to do.


Listen and Learn – Be slow to speak, give opinions, or preach.  Believe the best about the people you are serving, and the staff you are partnering with.


Build Trust not control. Learn why staff do things the way they do, and trust their experience and expertise. Focus on defining roles and responsibilities rather than trying to enforce rules or agreements


Build Relationships that are sustainable - promote peace


Pray – Examine your heart, attitude, and assumptions. 


Be flexible. Be flexible. Be flexible. Different cultures mean more than just different food and clothing: time management, expectations of relationships, levels of trust, and priorities are almost always different across cultures.


Be hopeful – Finding and meeting needs takes a lot of creativity and positive energy. Justice and compassion are always worth it.


Lament – Nobody completely understands all of the barriers and hard realities faced when met with needs., nor the injustice that caused their plight, but a big part of serving is being willing to listen, understand, and mourn.


Have fun – Delight in the challenging and funny and unexpected things that come up.


Speak respectfully of the ‘other’ – other religions, other governments, other social groups.  Often others come from highly complex situations that are not easily understood during initial interactions.


Discern – Use the following discernment tool and perception survey to see what you are ready for:


Discernment Tool:  This tool offers simple steps you can follow to identify your congregation’s strengths and where you need to grow, giving you the information you need to select the best. You can find the tool here: Assessment Tool for Faith Communities.


Perception Survey: Use a tool like Survey Monkey to create an online survey to poll your congregation about their perceptions and ways they would like to engage in solutions. You can create your own questionnaire or borrow ideas from our Homelessness Sample Perception Survey