We’re committed to helping truly needy people, so they can eventually help themselves. That includes serving spiritual food as well as physical sustenance. In Deuteronomy 8:3b, Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
We are also committed to having more budget workshops, meal preparation classes and helping to educate people with other public organizations that can also be of assistance. (i.e. housing information center, first call for help, social security, etc..)
Another way to handle the situation is to allow a person to work for his money. In II Thessalonians 3:10, it states “that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” Handing a man a paintbrush or shovel is a sure way to check out his motivation.
Benevolent Assistance Procedures:
The challenge to church leaders is clear. We need to respond biblically. We simply cannot sidestep the issue and hope it will go away. It is here at our doorstep. Historically, this was once the church’s responsibility to provide aid to the poor, aged and disabled. The church, for whatever reasons, allowed government to take over this burden. Now, because of cuts in various federally funded assistance programs, people are again turning to the church for help.
We here at Good Shepherd have purpose to, within biblical guidelines, help where we can to meet the needs of individuals.
Our committee will consist of three members at all times, hearing each request, and if at any time these three members can not agree, the request will be decided by the Pastor.
Since church members have worked hard to earn funds for purchasing provisions, it is agreed by the committee to prayerfully consider each request and to guarantee good stewardship.
We will look at the basic needs for survival (food, shelter – heat and electricity) and clothing. Telephone expenses will be included only if a life and death situation exists in the home (someone is seriously ill and the phone is a necessity).
Because of the size of our congregation, we will assist an individual only once in a twelve month period, unless the circumstances prove that it is extremely necessary.
The committee will at any time have access to the individual’s record of financial givings, attendance and service. Malachi 3:10 “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heavens, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
We as a church have three options:
- Help everyone. Provide food, shelter and clothing to anyone who has an apparent need.
- Help no one.
- Help the truly needy. The ideal is to help these people become self-sufficient without
creating a dependency on the church or another welfare system.
We have elected to help the truly needy. In doing so, we have developed the following strategy:
Who qualifies for aid?
We are responsible, according to the Bible, to help strangers and those in the body of Christ.
Hebrews 13:2 tells us “do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
I John 3:17 “Whoever has the world’s goods and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?”
In setting priorities, the body of Christ comes first according to Galatians 6:10 “do good to all men and especially to those who are of the househol d of the faith.”
Who do we consider needy?
Those without resources or an immediate ability to help themselves are considered to be needy.
Resources include assistance from family, relatives and friends. I Timothy 5:10 “But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to show piety at home and to requite their parents; for that is good and acceptable before God.” Property, savings accounts, cars, television or any other surplus items can be sold for basic provisions.
To what extent should we meet needs?
We should meet immediate needs, while helping people become self-supporting.
To demonstrate good stewardship and to ensure that the church is not being taken advantage of, we have prepared an interview questionnaire to be completed by any individual requesting assistance. The questionnaire is designed to help the committee determine a person’s identity, employment status, possible church affiliation and any additional resources he or she may have overlooked.
When assistance is approved, checks will be made out to the organization or place of need, not to the individual (except in the case of bereavement).