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Insider view to City Union Mission of Kansas City

City Union Mission is a ministry to the homeless in Kansas City. At least, it use to be. There has been many problems in recent years that have made it more of a business than a ministry. I have seen this from the inside as well as the outside.

I have watched the vision of City Union Mission changed over the last few years and when they lost the focus on the gospel, the Lord will not provide as He always has. There is part of the reasons that donations is down according to Fox 4. However, according to their own 1099 form that is required to be filed with the IRS, they have gross receipts of over 23 million dollars in the most recent filing.

The mission use to be gospel centered but today they consider them “Christian based.” Using the bible as a tool to try and re-build lives is humanism and it must be viewed as much. Jesus did not die so we could have a “program based on the bible.” He died for sinners to save them from death, hell and the grave. There is a fixation of just getting people housed with a concern if they have going to have a home in heaven.

This change in the emphasis at the mission started a few years and in the last twelve months ago, there has over 10 long term staff members resign for unknown reasons. What is driving up to a dozen people who have worked there for years to just walk out the door? In my view, it was their own integrity.

Staff Highlight: Keith Jackson

Keith comes from Sheffield Family Life Center, an Assemblies of God church that once was a thriving community of Christ followers that were filled with the Spirit. (In recent years, the message has turned to Marxism in the name of “racial injustice.”) He came to the mission in 2018 with the express vision of “ministering to broken men first and foremost.” He started with helping on the third floor in the evenings.

Quickly after starting, he would twist the words of Paul to become a “rules and policy guy.” At one point, he stood up and reshaped the gospel and the use of Romans 13. This began a habit of using the scriptures of context to push the agenda of the leadership instead of being faithful to the gospel. Many messages in his chapel services are a mixture of scriptures with humanism, Marxism and reinforcing the rules at the mission.

I personally experienced this. As a man that seeks to be laid by the Spirit alone, he got upset with more than once because I would not act on anything without the leading of the Lord. It is my firm belief that if the presence of God is not in it, I want no part in it. At one point, I was called into an office by Keith Jackson and Marshall Williams and basically mocked for seeking to be lead completely by the Holy Spirit. I was pushed to speak on things that the Spirit had not spoken to me about.

Shortly after this, the Spirit gave the “green light” to end the relationship with City Union Mission. The season for ministering to the homeless had ended and it was time to take a sabbatical for a year. Keith Jackson cut me off completely when I left the mission. Completely ostracized when I went in a new direction.

Fast forward about ten months, I came down to see if things had changed and to visit with the chaplain. I walked into the chapel to say hello. I was met with a very sharp “What are you doing here? You need to leave. We have a ‘no casual visitors’ policy. Goodbye.” It was harsh, rude and clear he was frustrated to even see my face. There was no way for me to know that they were still under the casual visitors rule that was related to COVID19. The response was simple, “it was great to see you, Keith and I hope you have a good night.”

This experience is the norm with the staff that are left. They do not care about souls of the men. Just using them to advance their own agendas. I wish I could say that Keith Jackson is the rogue staff but it is far from it.

Corporate Vision vs Kingdom thinking

The challenge that must be addressed is that the City Union Mission, under Terry Megli is there is a tension between the vision of the corporation and actually caring for the homeless from a Kingdom of God position. In all the times I was at the mission, which is daily for many months, I only see Terry comes over to see staff members or get an interview with the TV stations. There was no one time I saw him sit down with a homeless man and just say “tell me your story, sir.”

This is partly due to Terry being a secular person that focused in retail before coming to the mission. What education he does have in seminary was actually related to organizational leadership, not pastoral care or evangelism. As a result, he does not have a Kingdom mindset that is about first and foremost the eternity of the man. After that, the concern should what the Spirit is doing for the person. The only person that is currently on staff doing this is the chaplain!

To be fair, this could be about philosophy. I spent time at the Los Angeles Dream Center where a governing ideal is no one is too big to serve the hurting. Even Tommy Barnett, pastor of one of the largest church in America stopped for the one to hear their story. On a wall is a big sign “Find a need and fill it. Find a hurt and love it.” This is not the case at the City Union Mission.

There is a long list of people, clients as well as staff that has been thrown under the bus in the last few years as they move from being gospel centered to just being “Christian based” with a stronger focus on humanism.

In many cases, the homeless are a product and the donors are the customer!

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