The Story: How Our Homeless Outreach Began

Budgets.

In 2018, Dr. Matthew Scraper was sitting in his office at Southern Hills. Frustrated over the fact that he didn’t become a minister to sit around and work on budgets, Matthew asked the Holy Spirit for some guidance. The answer came quickly…

“Let’s minister to the Homeless community.”

Knowing that he didn’t know what he didn’t know, Matthew called Rev. Debbie Ingraham, the Director of Skyline Urban Ministry in OKC. Deb connected Matthew to Quail Springs UMC, a church actively involved in homeless ministry in North OKC.

After spending an afternoon driving around North OKC with the homeless outreach volunteers of Quail Springs, Matthew learned about the Ice Angels; a wonderful community of volunteers ministering those experiencing homelessness in South OKC. Matthew would spend the next year volunteering with the Ice Angles, learning how to be in ministry with one of the most marginalized communities in OKC and delivering meals prepared by the volunteers of SHUMC directly into the homeless camps along South OKC’s I-240 corridor.

By 2019, other volunteers had come alongside Matthew, with a vision for a regular homeless outreach operated by Southern Hills UMC. Knowing that more support was needed, Matthew and the Leadership Board at SHUMC hired associate minister Bo Ireland. Under Bo’s leadership, the Homeless Outreach Mobile Ministry (HOMM) was born. By the time that Bo moved on to the Lazarus Community in June of 2021, the HOMM had located to River Park in Stockyards City, and was regularly ministering with over 80 people experiencing homelessness each week.

Between June and December of 2021, the HOMM Outreach had grown substantially, regularly ministering with over 120 people experiencing homelessness each week. As the reach and impact of the HOMM continues to expand, so also does the need for passionate, caring and resourceful volunteers who have a passion for making a real difference in the lives of real people.

Today, you’ll find Matthew at River Park every Tuesday, ministering to those who are experiencing homelessness alongside over 20 volunteers. Someday, by God’s grace and the reformation of the hearts of people, there will no longer be a need for an outreach like this. For now, the ministry continues to grow as the homeless population in OKC continues to grow. If you have a passion for making a real and regular difference in the lives of some of the most marginalized in our communities, then we have a place in our outreach for you.