Back Room in the Inn needs grow as cold weather moves in

January 13th, 2012

When Mary and Joseph made the trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem, there wasn't a biblical account of a grueling trip or an insensitive innkeeper who turned them away upon their arrival. The fact is, they were far from home and had to find alternative sleeping arrangements (and subsequently, a second-rate birthing locale).

All over Nashville, homeless men and women wander the streets—far from any type of home and in need of a bed each night. They're really not so different from Mary and Joseph. They're just normal people, struggling to do better in life and looking for a little hospitality.

That's why Room in the Inn was created. And that's why Brentwood Baptist partners with this local ministry each Monday night, from November to March, during the coldest months of the year, offering refuge on our campus to 28 homeless men.

Working from a random lottery system, two buses roll through downtown Nashville each week to pick up the men and bring them back to Brentwood Baptist.

Nathan Melton, Room in the Inn Coordinator for Brentwood Baptist, said, "I'm so grateful to say that the first two months of the season have gone by relatively smooth. We're blessed to be able to say we've filled 224 beds over that time. Some men have been repeat guests…but it seems like there are more new faces than I expected. Hopefully, that's a sign that this ministry is the stepping stone these men need to get them on to the next phase in their lives."

On campus, the men are given a warm meal, clean clothes, a hot shower, and a place to sleep for the night. Volunteers—including men, women, children, and families—work together behind the scenes to make the evening happen, sitting down with the men over the meal to hear their stories, pray with them, and be a friend.

Phillip Lee, a new member of the core volunteer team this year, said, "As you listen, you find most are there because of bad decisions, but are trying hard to recover. Most of the people aren't bums looking for a handout. They're looking for a hand up. They're very much like me, but…I can get up from the table and go to my own home and go to bed. I hope they get as much of a blessing out of this as I do."

Lee Ragland, a seasoned volunteer, said, "If you've ever sat at the dinner table on Monday night with these gentle men, listened to their stories, and perhaps seen the face of God smiling through their broken teeth and weathered faces, you'd realize we're no different. Sure, we may smell better and have on cleaner clothes, but in all reality, we're all broken. And, like these souls who've been discarded by society, we have a need to be spared and salvaged too. We, too, need God's grace and salvation."

Right now, the clothing needs for men who come to our campus are great. You can help by dropping off the following new or gently used items at Entrance C:
  • Warm coats (Sizes XL+)
  • Hoodies (sizes XL+)
  • Long-sleeve shirts (dress shirts or polo-style) (sizes XXL+)
  • Belts (sizes 30–52)
  • Long johns (sizes Medium and up)
  • Boxer underwear (sizes medium and up)
  • Knit ski caps
  • Heavy winter gloves
  • Backpacks
  • Tennis shoes and work boots
  • Jeans (sizes 34–38)
  • Hand warmers
  • Deodorant
If you'd like to volunteer on Monday nights—driving a bus, serving meals, washing, drying, and folding clothes, talking with the men, and more—contact Nathan Melton, Room in the Inn Coordinator, or Becky Gross, Community Missions Minister.

Story by Kaylan Christopher