Tennessee Pastor Willie Lyle Lives as a Homeless Person For One Week

By John Dere, Crossmap On July 9, 2013

In an attempt to be more like Jesus, Rev. Willie Lyle, the new pastor at Sango United Methodist Church in Clarksville, Tennessee, decided to spend one week of his life as a homeless man.

A few days after taking the job as head pastor of the Sango United Methodist Church, Lyle says he had a dream in which God told him the following words:

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"I hear you preach the word of God and share the message of Christ. Now, I want you to actually live it. And I want to hear how you liked having nothing and being treated with disrespect and disdain by almost everybody. I'm not finished. I want you to tell your new congregation about your experience and challenge them to make a difference in the world, beginning right here in Clarksville."

After spending five days living on the streets of downtown Clarksville, the pastor shared his thoughts on the experience.

"Generally speaking, people are not kind to the homeless," Lyle said.

"I know there are people who live on the street and choose to do so. I am talking about the homeless and poor who find themselves in circumstances beyond their control and they have nothing."

"Sadly, sometimes they don't even have hope,” Lyle added. “They most definitely want food and shelter, but they also seek the food and shelter found in the message of Christ. I'm not sure churches are addressing those needs. Actually, I believe churches could learn a lot from the homeless and hungry if they were willing to open their eyes to the truth."

After completing the experience and returning to his newly appointed position as a leader in the church, Lyle explained that Christianity is not always about comfort.

"This was not some grandstand show on my part,” he said. “I wanted everybody to know what I had been through, what I had learned and the physical and emotional discomfort I experienced and that I am still dealing with. And I made sure to mention more than once that Christ was not comfortable on the cross."