Brandon Hatmaker
Don't go to Church this Easter
by Brandon Hatmaker on March 28th, 2012

Austin New Church closes it's doors on Easter. It's one of the most powerful and certainly one of my favorite Sundays of the year. Instead of gathering inside, we gather outside for a time of fellowship, food, and communion with our homeless brothers & sisters in downtown Austin. As usual, we will be meeting at the corner of 7th & Neches from 4-6pm.

As most of you are aware, our Easter Downtown Grillout is different from our regular time with the homeless community. We bring our lawn chairs, enjoy a meal with them, share in communion together, and listen to some great live music. It's quite the event.

Since this includes all of us and not just a "team", your participation is needed to make this grill out happen.  There are two things we need you to do:

1) CLICK HERE to register for the April 8th event (4-6pm).

2) We need each Restore Group to bring 20-25 Gift Bags with the following items:

  • shampoo (personal size)
  • soap
  • toothpaste/brush
  • deodorant
  • comb/brush
  • chap-stick
  • sun block
  • short socks
  • laundry detergent (optional)
If you're a part of ANC, please plan on being there. If you're not, but want to join us... here's just a glimpse of what to expect (Dont' miss the pics at the end. They're my favorite part):

Posted in Austin, Austin New Church, Kingdom, Social Justice    Tagged with Homeless, Easter, Austin, Austin New Church, Barefoot Church, Mercy, Justice, Restore Communities, Restore Austin


Mindy W - March 28th, 2012 at 10:04 PM
You're right- the pictures at the end were my favorite, too. As an outsider looking in, I was beginning to wonder where were the people you were serving.

As innocently as a blog comment question can be asked- What would happen if you didn't wear your ANC logo t-shirts and covered them up on your trailers? I'm just curious about the connection between this post and the other day's post "Stop serving the poor". I don't have an answer in my mind, nor am I trying to provoke you in some way, just asking.
Brandon Hatmaker - March 28th, 2012 at 11:49 PM
I think those are good questions Mindy.

First of all, we didn't take much film footage of the homeless mostly to respect them. We always try to do that. This video was designed more for our people and celebrate/archive the day.

As far as the t-shirts go, while there were only a handful of them, for this event (Easter Sunday) we weren't trying to hide who we were. This was after more than a year of serving on that street corner. So we didn't feel it necessary to be "under cover" if you will. I even spoke briefly and we shared communion together. That said, I'm never a fan of everyone wearing the same shirt at a big service event. It's a sure-fire way of making those being served feel like outsiders.

When we serve with other non-profits... we come in their name, and not ours. The level of this intentionality certainly depends on the project, opportunity, and history with the org we're serving with or the group we're serving. I elaborate on this in my book (Barefoot Church). There is a difference between how we approach what we call an "Experience" event of service (like our easter project) and an "Engage" effort that is done through missional community.
Stacy Gruhn - March 29th, 2012 at 9:16 AM
Just wanted you to know that our Life Group, inspired by reading through "Barefoot Church" together, took it upon themselves to sign us up to serve breakfast on Easter Sunday at our local homeless shelter. Our church still has services on Easter Sunday morning, so we will serve breakfast at the shelter and then go to a later service together. Not exactly the same plan as your church, but I was so inspired to see God using your book to change their hearts. Have a feeling this will be my favorite Easter yet! Thanks so much to you and Jen for all you are doing to encourage and inspire us all to move beyond "normal" to all that God truly has for us! We are grateful!
Brandon Hatmaker - March 29th, 2012 at 2:34 PM
Thanks so much for sharing your journey!
Mrk - March 29th, 2012 at 10:24 AM
Brandon, just discovered your book, this site, etc. and am amazed and challenged at what you all are doing. Our church has made forays into the "suburban" homeless that are increasing in our area. And I have a question for you, as I'm trying to reconcile your book with something like "When Helping Hurts" by Steve Corbett
Brandon Hatmaker - March 29th, 2012 at 2:32 PM
hope i can help. drop me an email at

thx. brandon
Sherry - March 29th, 2012 at 2:00 PM
Love it! So inspiring! Our small group made up 87 "homeless care packages" this past week. It is such a blessing to hand these out and know that they will make a difference- however small it may be! Bless you guys for what you are doing and may God get all the glory!
Brandon Hatmaker - March 29th, 2012 at 2:34 PM
Thanks for taking a step Sherry. We know you won't end homelessness or poverty on the streets with your care packages... but thanks for doing something and trying to be a blessing. Sounds like you're enjoying it. BH
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