Trailer Park Ministry

Early in our marriage, my wife and I started reaching out to those who lived in the mobile home park where we lived. We found the people very receptive. Many residents were lonely and wanted social activities but were afraid to reach out to those around them. Others had a church background but didn’t know any churches around and were afraid to walk into a church where they didn’t know anyone. They wanted to study the Bible but didn’t have anyone to help them. During1971, we established several house churches in the mobile home park and began visiting the others to locate those in need of further ministry. That is the pattern we have followed ever since. We looked for a person or group to help us develop our growing ministry but could not find anyone. We contacted all the churches around but they felt that if the people wanted to come to their church, they would and none of them wanted to reach out to the people there. We eventually contacted the national headquarters of the major denominations but they did not know of anyone doing that kind of work. Eventually, we contacted the National Council of Churches but they told us that the only ones they knew of were a few pilot projects and they did not know if any of them were still active. We tried to contact them but could not find anyone who knew anything about them. As a result, we have had to develop the ministry on our own and work out the details as we go. We have found it works best if someone lives in the mobile home park because residents are suspicious of those who come into the park just to get residents to come to their church so they can fill their pews and pay their bills. If someone doesn’t live in the park, it is best to hold the activities in the park. Over the years we have also extended our work into adjoining apartment complexes but have been limited by time and resources. We have been more successful when we were able to have the activities in the complex. Since the early 1990’s, the government has been trying to develop a program to place Social Workers in low-income housing projects to develop social programs and provide Social Services but on a very limited scale.