CLARKSVILLE, Tenn — Pastor Willie Lyle was preparing to make the move to to a new appointment at the Sango United Methodist Church in Clarksville, TN when God showed up. In a dream Lyle believed God was calling him to spend the 4 days before his first Sunday at the new church living on the streets as a homeless man so that he could be more faithfully communicate to the new church plight of the “least of these” and the need for the church to be involved with the needy in his community.
So he did it.
The Clarksville Leaf Chronicle published a lengthy story documenting Lyle’s experience, and his arrival on his first Sunday as a homeless man (with his daughter cutting his hair and shaving his beard during the sermon to transform Lyle back into the pastor). Not everyone in the new congregation was thrilled about this inaugural witness of their new pastor. As the paper reported:
“Willie got the attention of those present, and some were uncomfortable. ‘If I made someone squirm, then so be it. Sango UMC is not going to be a congregation that talks about issues and solutions. We are going to be part of the solutions to the problems we face in our community. We are going to get our hands dirty as we live like Jesus and help others. Talking is easy. Doing is harder, and sometimes it is really uncomfortable.’”
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