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Outdoor Church Serves Dallas Homeless Population One Soul At A Time

Outdoor Church Serves Dallas Homeless Population One Soul At A Time Read Transcript

CHARLENE AARON: Six days a week, this Dallas parking lot

looks explain and unremarkable.

Then on Sundays, it transforms into something special.

You've heard that children's rhyme, here's the church,

here's the steeple, open the door and hear all the people.

Well, here on this hot Dallas city parking lot,

there's a church without walls aimed at ministering

to the invisible people--

the homeless.

For 22 years, Soul Church has used praise songs

to send a message that it's here to feed mind, body, and soul.

And there's much feeding to be done.

Statistics show homeless camps here

have multiplied from just 40 to 200 in the last two years.

Pastor Leon Birdd heads Soul Church.

This is it right here.

Looks like a parking lot right now.

But we get here at 5 o'clock in the morning.

We start setting up all these different tents.

We've got 10 tents over there, and then a whole bunch of tents

over the people that are eating.

We have a live band every weekend.

CHARLENE AARON: The hurting and broken

find open arms to welcome them.

LEON BIRDD: My church--

you can come drunk, you can come strung out.

And a lot of them do.

And they have a repentive spirit and they're broken.

And they just want to get back where they were.

And some of them have been to church.

Some have never been to church.

And they just come here to get loved on.

They're seeking aceeptance.

CHARLENE AARON: Something Pastor Birdd knows well.

I was freebasing cocaine when I got saved.

And I didn't care if I lived or died.

And so I can understand where they're coming from.

CHARLENE AARON: Hot meals are served along with the gospel.

And while the menu has changed over the years,

the message remains the same.

LEON BIRDD: We started off with 10 gallons of coffee

and a basket of donuts.

Now, it's feeding hundreds of people at one time.

Really good food, like salmon and you name it.

No place I'd rather be.

CHARLENE AARON: Since it began, Soul

has never canceled a service, because those

who need it always show up.

If it's raining, we have Hefty bags.

We poke our head through the top and our arms through the sides.

That's our Soul attire, OK?

That's our Soul attire.

Plenty of Hefty bags.

And then we'll be dancing in the rain, getting crazy.

Snow and ice-- it doesn't matter.

Got to be here every weekend.

That's one thing they can count on for sure is Sunday morning,

they'll be somebody here.

Well, let's bless the Lord one more day, amen?

CHARLENE AARON: Pastor Jeffrey Parker

says those attending their services come

from all ages and backgrounds.

The demographics-- you have from 16-year-olds to 70

and 80-year-old.

It really breaks my heart when I see

our seniors living amongst this population in homelessness,

some of them without any hope, some of them very sick.

CHARLENE AARON: Still, he sees the ministry

making a strong impact.

JEFFREY PARKER: We've begin to see the testimonies of them

getting jobs now and them moving into their own apartment now

and them showing up at Bible study now.

And so all of these are evidence and signs

that what they've professed on Sunday,

they've began to walk it out during the week.

And so we see life change taking place here.

CHARLENE AARON: Debra McKernan once

blamed God for the death of her two children

and wanted nothing to do with church.

After serving time for drugs and prostitution,

the outdoor church literally called out to her.

Living in a nearby shelter and annoyed by the music,

she decided to pay a visit.

DEBRA MCKERNAN: I actually stomped over here

to tell them, turn your stupid music off.

And I walked onto this parking lot

and I didn't realize I was in church.

And it drew me in.

And I saw people--

I saw love is what I saw.

And with that, I saw no judgment.

Everybody was just like me--

broken, just broken.

And I started staying later and later.

And eventually, I found Jesus on this parking lot.

And now, I know that God positioned me here,

because he knew I was not ready to walk

into a church with walls.

I couldn't do it.

CHARLENE AARON: Today, Debra serves at the church.

I still have a long way to go.

I'm still a mess.

But I am not where I was.

CHARLENE AARON: Work in progress.

I am.

I am.

And it is all because of the Lord.

I gave Him nothing and He still gave me His everything.

And I can't thank Him enough.

CHARLENE AARON: Just some of the reasons and miracles

that keeps Birdd spreading hope one soul at a time.

On any given weekend, there will

be 30, 40 people that come up to get prayer,

commit theirself to the Lord.

I just pray that this goes on for a long time.

CHARLENE AARON: Charlene Aaron, CBN News, Dallas.


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