My Savior Was a Tramp Like Me

I am focusing on community around Street Youth Ministry this year. To build community, I will teach leadership and invite two different groups to have a stronger roll in SYM. The first is the community of West Austin. That community is dominated by thousands upon thousands of students who walk through and live in the neighborhood. They see my clients and  some give them something (leftovers, a small handout, or a small purchase from a store), some shake their head in disbelief or disapproval, and some cross the street to be away from them because their street culture is just too foreign. I'm praying, "God, help me to give these students a voice in SYM by Your grace. Help me to invite them into classes to teach loving with boundaries and to teach about the street culture. Help me to invite them into volunteering in our activities. Help me to hear from them what is needed for this neighborhood and work with them to enable solutions."

The second group is the clients themselves. They are great at showing up and have proven they truly want the types of services and treatment they receive from SYM. But these individuals are so capable and gifted, and SYM hasn't been good about giving them a role in the ministry. I'm praying, "Jesus, help me to help the street youth organize events, prepare materials for events, use their talents at our events, and lead events. Let me hear what services are needed from them and work with them to enable healthy solutions. Help me to train those with leadership skills to use those gifts in new ways. Allow street youth to develop a healthy voice in Street Youth Ministry."

Even as I'm praying, I thinking, "These two goals are huge. How can I do this? The students of UT are not engaged in SYM… few even know SYM exists. And the street youth typically are in a mode of showing up and receiving. And they move so often, how can I develop leaders?" I have so many questions and challenges it's overwhelming at times.

On the student front, I have relationships with a few churches in the area. And I have relationship with Campus Renewal Ministry, a group of almost 80 Christians ministries that work on the UT campus. So I have some place to start.

And just to give me encouragement, God opened my eyes to something in the street youth. 

My music CDs were recently stolen (first time anything was stolen from the ministry in 26 months). So we don't have worship music for our weekly Bible study. One youth plays  his guitar for money on the sidewalk and always carries it with him. I told him it would be wonderful if he were willing to learn something Christian and play for us each week. He replied, "I know a Jesus song or two already. I could play today." 

After we got the food out and got settled down, I asked "So will you play something for us?" He got out his guitar and played this song. It turns out he wrote it, lyrics and melody. Now I'm praying, "God, I am so humbled to know these street youth that you created some wonderfully. Help me to help them discover and release their talents and gifts. Help me to help them learn about You and your Kingdom so they may take their rightful place, both leading and following in the Body of Christ."

My Savior Was a Tramp Like Me 

(c) Shea Grant, Used by permission

Let me tell you a story 'bout a Tramp
Saved my life so I wouldn't be damned
The story's very old, as I'm sure you've been told
His name is Jesus and He was a Tramp like me

He walked throughout all of the land
Spreading Good News and Salvation for man
He fed five thousand heads with two fish, alittle bread
My Saviour was a Tramp like me


He was Trampin' to the very end

Teaching Love wherever He went

Resurrected the dead without a place to lay His head

My Saviour was a Tramp like me


The high priest, they wanted Him dead

'Cause they didn't like the things He had said

But He kept ramblin' on 'cause His time was yet to come

My Saviour was a Tramp like me


With His buddies He broke His last bread

Then betrayed by His own friend

He was beaten and flogged and he was nailed to a Cross

My Saviour died a Tramp for me


Those roads must've been very hard

'Specially 'cause they didn't have any cars

I've done wrong and am ashamed but He loves me just the same

My Saviour was a Tramp like me


He died and rose again for the forgiveness of my sin

My Saviour was a Tramp like me

You can read more about Shea and all his poetry at

"To know, love and serve street dependent youth."
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