You Can Help Those Who Have No Way Home (Documentary Review)

Billie Jo YoumansBy Billie Jo Youmans6 Minutes

Just the Facts

No Way Home: Homelessness in America is a 2018 documentary by John Bevilacqua and Haywood Road Films. It chronicles how one community worked out a God-given vision for helping the homeless. Former NFL Superbowl player, Timothy Johnson (now Pastor of the Orlando World Outreach Center) grieved over the plight of the homeless in his community. God gave him a vision that took two years and thousands of people to work out.

In his mind’s eye, Johnson saw a massive gathering of hurting and broken people met by others demonstrating the love of God—and meeting practical needs. The concept of a community celebration of Christ’s resurrection that lifted others from the depths of hopelessness culminated in an event entitled, “He Got Up.” Johnson explains, “Jesus got up to lift me up so I could lift others up!”

God-visions don’t just come to fruition. No Way Home takes you behind the scenes of this undertaking to inspire you to sow seeds of hope in your community. One person can make a difference—if that person is joined by others!

A Little Inspiration

This is not a movie designed to entertain you—it is a documentary designed to move you! With a clear message that we—the community—hold the solution to society’s problems in our hearts and hands, No Way Home shows the way to love.

The vision for a transformative event that would meet needs and bring about lasting change required discipline, commitment, and perseverance. Johnson leaned on lessons from his football career, drawing from the wisdom he gained from legendary teachers like Joe Paterno (Penn State) and Mean Joe Green (Pittsburgh Steelers).

Over the course of two years, Johnson garnered the support of politicians, businesspeople, churches, lawyers, and social workers. The community worked together to build trusting relationships with the transient homeless population. By the day of the event, their collaborative efforts resulted in blessing for over 10,000 precious people—all made in the image of God!

Deeper Digging

Despite continuing as the richest nation in the world, homelessness continues to grow in America. Over a half-million people do not have a place of their own. It is estimated that double that number live on the precipice of homelessness—one paycheck away from disaster. Within those heart-breaking numbers is a deeper pain. Nearly one-fourth of the homeless population is under the age of 18.

The issues that come with homelessness reveal even deeper misery. Emotion and mental health concerns, poor nutrition and hygiene, addiction, limited education and employment opportunity, hunger, and social isolation further complicate every effort to help.

But as Christians, we cannot avoid the mandate from God to care for the disenfranchised. One ten-year old in No Way Home exemplifies the truth that everyone can help. She collected 3700 pairs of shoes to give away the day of the He Got Up event! Each one of us can—and should—invest our hearts and hands in making our communities better.

Tim Johnson used his background and skills to bring his God-given vision to reality. How has God designed and equipped you to bring the hope of Christ to your community? It will surely require the same elements of discipline, commitment, and perseverance Johnson employed, but it will also include your unique design. God has equipped you for the good works He planned for you (Ephesians 2:10). Some additional scriptures that may speak to your heart and help you formulate a plan for helping in your community, include:

  • Deuteronomy 15:11
  • Psalm 82:3
  • Proverbs 22:2
  • Isaiah 58:6-7
  • Matthew 6:2-3
  • 1 Corinthians 13:3

The call to serve God is often answered by serving those around us. It is a call that brings personal transformation while helping others and improving our world. But it is not an easy call. As you step out to serve in Christ’s name, these pointers may help you stay grounded.

  1. Both spiritual and material poverty matter to God.
  2. Every human being is made in the image of God and deserves to be treated with dignity.
  3. Being heard is a gift that brings healing. Learn to listen with empathy – seek to understand not fix.
  4. Share the good news of Christ – leave the “saving” up to the Savior.
  5. The ground at the Cross is level – humbly learn from those you serve.

Finally, it’s important to remember Jesus has called you friend. Treasure that role above all others. You are more than a “servant,” but He must always be your primary reason for serving. We are truly on a journey of walking one another to our homes in heaven. Enjoy the journey!