After much prayer and discussion, We have felt led to close Forest Avenue Family Shelter after 32 years of ministry.

Dear faithful supporters,

After much prayer and discussion, it has been decided that the time has come to close Forest Avenue Family Shelter.

As you probably know, the shelter was begun in 1986, when God impressed me that this was a ministry that our church should do. The only reason for beginning the shelter was to share the gospel with the homeless population and, hopefully, to disciple the new believers that would result from that. There was never any other motive and no thought was given as to how long the Lord would have the church in this ministry.

In the beginning, God sent an abundance of leadership for the shelter, many from within our own church. Weekly discipleship classes were held by the faithful leadership. The finances were always supplied by outside churches and individuals and often helped to keep even the church afloat. It was clear that God¢s hand was in it.

In time, the shelter grew to become the largest single women¢s shelter in Kansas City and developed a reputation for excellence within the shelter community. So many churches and individuals have given of their time and support and many continue to do so. We are so grateful for these.

Over the past few years, many of these qualities have diminished and we are unable to do the ministry in a way that we feel is pleasing to the Lord.

Evangelism, our motive for opening, has begun to take a back seat and the leadership to carry it out has not been there. Since we have not had adequate leadership, discipleship is not taking place and we are not seeing people come to the Lord, as we did in the beginning.

The shelter has continued to have a difficult time with leadership. For various reasons, it has been difficult to get and keep leadership that would be up to the standard that we need here at the shelter. The leadership that we do have is overworked due to the low staff and the incredible workload of the shelter. Because of our low finances, we have never been able to pay for leadership.

Finances have also begun to diminish and have often not been able to keep up with the monthly expenses. Even though we have many very faithful regular supporters, monthly bills have begun to be paid partially by church funds.

Not only has financial support dwindled, but the numbers of groups volunteering to bring the evening meal and chapel has also taken a nosedive, causing our already taxed staff to fill in and cook and bring a chapel message on those nights.

Our own church here at Forest Avenue has not been supportive of the shelter and has shown no desire to continue with the shelter ministry.

I always look for three things when trying to determine the will of God in a situation. One of those is leadership. God always provides the leadership for whatever work He wants. Another thing is provision. He always supplies the needs to carry out the ministry, if it is of Him. The final, and probably most important, thing is peace. His peace will always be there if we are following His lead.

This brings me to my final reason. I, and others that I have talked with within the church, no longer have God¢s peace about continuing the shelter ministry.  It is a very difficult decision to come to, but I know that it is the right one.

The shelter has done very good ministry for many years and I do not regret it. However, as of late, I have felt that we have not been ministering in a way that honors the Lord and that God is telling us to move on from this ministry. We must follow God¢s leading and, right now, I believe that He is leading us away from this ministry. The church at Forest Avenue is growing and needs more attention. 

It will be sad to see this ministry stop, but thousands of homeless have been helped over the past 32 years. I feel that we have done our part to help Kansas City¢s poor and homeless, as well as providing a ministry outlet for the local churches and groups. We will continue to minister to the poor within the inner city, just not with a homeless shelter.

Therefore, the shelter will no longer be taking clients and we will be shutting down our shelter operations. Our official closing date will be May 27. The staff will need time to find housing, so they are being given 2 months to do this. The shelter will not be operating during this 2-month period, but utilities will still be being paid.

We are so grateful to each one of you that has so faithfully supported us these past 32 years, whether financially, in service, or in prayer. Many have also supported Forest Avenue Church over the years and we are so thankful for that support as well. We pray that many of you will be inclined to continue to support our work in the inner city by supporting Forest Avenue Church.

With many thanks and love, In Christ,

Pastor J. Ken Smith

Forest Avenue Church- Kansas City, MO

Website Builder