The Open Door Community

An image from an advocacy event called "Festival of Shelters" that Open Door facilitated.

An image from an advocacy event called “Festival of Shelters” that Open Door facilitated.

On Tuesday, I get the opportunity to return to visit a community in midtown Atlanta that is inspiring others to change the world, and doing so themselves. The Open Door Community is a residential Christian community in the heart of Atlanta. They stand in solidarity with those who have received the death penalty and actively advocate against it. More than that, they live and serve among individuals without a home. They offer worship, free clinic, foot clinic, showers, a public restroom, a daily soup kitchen, and shelter. It is a beautiful example of living out God’s call for justice. All of what they do is done in the name of hospitality.

They are the subject of this week’s post because learning from and about communities like Open Door help us all serve better. First, they inspire us to do more. Second, they give us wisdom in how to serve well. In the case of Open Door, there are two lessons I have learned from them. While I don’t necessarily agree with all of their beliefs, these two lessons can be applied to any type of world-changing activity and I wanted to share them in the context of Open Door, because they apply them well.

  1. We are brothers and sisters, not helpers and recipients
    Through their heart of hospitality, the Open Door Community does not serve and view those they are serving as recipients. Rather, they serve in the context of friendship and are one of the most intentionally mutualistic ways I have seen.
  2. Advocacy is a necessary part of service.
    While service among people who are poor (in any sense of the word) is so important, it is also important that people with more privilege who see and intimately know people who do not have a privileged voice speak on behalf of their friends. Open Door integrates advocacy into every act of service.

I really encourage you to check out Open Door online, in person, and through Hospitality, their online publication. I hope you become as inspired by them as I am!

P.S. I found out about Open Door through Jubilee Partners, another wonderful service community.

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