The pastor of one of Sacramento, California's largest churches recently announced he will leave all comforts behind and live on the streets until he raises thousands of dollars for the homeless.
On Sunday, Rev. Rick Cole surprised the congregation of Capital Christian Center when he announced that after his sermon, he would leave his wallet behind, grab a sleeping bag, and live like a homeless person, sleeping on the streets and eating in soup kitchens until he raises $100,000 to fund a program that provides winter shelter for the homeless at houses of worship throughout the area.
"I have said to our church, 'I am going to be out there until my goal is met so help me get off the street," he told news channel KRCA.
". I'm really excited and really freaked out."
According to the Sacramento Bee, Cole came up with the idea when brainstorming with others about how to fund a program called Winter Sanctuary that buses about 100 homeless people on winter nights local churches and synagogues which provide them food, shelter, and help to find work.
"We're not supposed to leave (people) out in the rain and cold," said Cole. "We like to point out the weak and tell them to get it together. Maybe (God is) calling us to help them."
The pastor says that although he may face some scary times living on the streets, he is excited to bring what he learns back to his congregation.
"If I get a different perspective, more compassion, how I relate to people, I can translate that to the people I lead. And that can only spread in a way that helps the community as a whole."
Cole has invited others to join him on the streets, including Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who has not committed yet, he said. Jacoby Shaddix, frontman of rock band Papa Roach, and several members of Cole's 4,000-member congregation, however, will keep him company.
Tom Platina, a former police officer who works for the church's winter shelter program and plans to accompany Cole, told the Sacramento Bee that he thinks the pastor will learn from the experience simply by seeing "the hurt" of living on the streets firsthand.
Cliff Humphries, who has been homeless, thought the pastor's plan was "a little crazy," but said, "if it's a God appointment it will work."
"We believe in the Holy Spirit and angelic protection," Humphries said. "It's a learning situation, that's for sure."
To learn more or donate to the cause, visit www.revonthestreet.com.