Matthew Cassillo was the catalyst for Connections Church’s involvement in the Chapel Ministry at the Men’s Shelter. When he learned that Dan and Penny Allen were interested in Street Ministry, he invited them to minister to the guests who live and enjoy meals at LifePath.
Dan said that one of his initial concerns about serving at the shelter was, “What should I expect?“ It turned out that what he found was a very safe environment with friendly cooperative staff members nearby at all times. He said, “If you feel the Lord is calling you to street ministry, LifePath provides the perfect environment to begin. He also says, “It is all about relationships. We should remain humble and meet others where they are and minister to them from there.”
–II Tim 22:24-26 Gal 5
The Chapel Ministry holds gatherings in the early evenings, immediately following supper in the LifePath dining room. The Guests are not required to attend, but all are welcome. Penny, Dan and Deana Cassillo offer Chapel two Fridays per month. They arrive around 3:30 p.m. to set up and begin playing music (guitars & tambourine) as Guests are arriving for supper. Some Guests stop in to chat on their way down the hall.
Most importantly, Dan said that they try to create a non-threatening atmosphere and develop relationships. This is their way of demonstrating the love of Jesus. At 4:45 p.m., after supper, they begin Chapel. The group in attendance may be 6-8 in number, or as many as 20.
They play music, then either Dan or Penny shares a message from the Gospel. The goal is to give the Guests a chance to interact without feeling like they are being judged. Many Guests come back to participate in subsequent weeks after they give it a try.
When asked how the experience of sharing Chapel at LifePath had impacted him, Dan said “You don’t do it for the reward, but it’s so meaningful when you realize that the Holy Spirit has moved and that people have been changed. One man we met identified himself as an agnostic. He was drawn to Penny’s 12-string guitar. She handed it to him to try it, and he said, ‘it’s been so long.’ After several interactions with others at LifePath, he accepted Christ. To be a part of that process makes us grateful that we are making an impact for the Kingdom!” Matthew and Deana were also grateful to be able to pray with the man to accept Christ.
“Anyone who is interested in Street Ministry,” says Dan, “should consider putting together a team to present a Chapel once or twice a month at LifePath. It’s approximately a 2-hour commitment. You have the rest of your evening free afterward, and ministry training is not necessary. The chapel service can be formatted as a worship experience, as a Bible Study, or as a small group experience. The goal is to meet people where they are and share the love of Jesus. There is such a need for personal interaction with our struggling neighbors. I invite church groups to prayerfully consider this type of ministry. It’s a wonderful opportunity that LifePath is providing, and I promise that you will be uplifted by the experience.”
For more information, or to get involved, contact Micah Heckert (717) 845-7662, ext. 1208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.