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Charitable ministry - How much should/can a church do?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by annsni, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. annsni

    annsni Administrator

    May 30, 2006
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    I had an interesting discussion today at church with the man who's organizing our Thanksgiving baskets for the needy. There was a man standing in the lobby when I walked out of the sanctuary and I saw him and asked if I could help him with anything. He told me that he was looking to sign up for the gifts for children (we do an Angel Tree sort of thing for needy kids in the area) so I got him to talk to the man who was doing the baskets. He took the man's name and number and told him that he'd call him if we had space still available in the program.

    It seems that there of course are less people who are able to help out by buying gifts and many more people coming in to ask for gifts last year and this year so they're having to limit the number of people that they can help. The man from our church said that he's gotten a lot of phone calls from people all over Long Island and he's suggested that they get in touch with their own home church but most of them don't have a home church so they start calling random churches to find help.

    Of course we'd love to help everyone but with limited resources, we help those from our own congregation who we know need help, those who are part of our crisis pregnancy center and those who are part of a ministry in the next town who we've partnered with a lot. For those who walk in off the street, we've had to turn some of them down. I feel so badly for them but then again, we can't help everyone and we know for sure the life situations of those who are involved in these 3 ministries and are more involved in their lives than just giving them a turkey and stuffing for Thanksgiving.

    Then we started talking about the "professional charity seekers" - those who we found were visiting multiple churches to get gifts for their kids (we will provide clothing, personal and school supplies and 2 toys for each child so it's not like we buy one gift) and turkey baskets. Honestly, I'd be happy to provide 2 baskets for a family who were really needy because one meal is not enough but to have some get 5 or 6 really gets me kind of sour.

    So what do you do at your church? How can you help everyone who comes to your door or do you? Do you limit what you can do? Do you find you have any "professional beggars"?

    Just doing some thinking on this tonight. Oh - and I decided my little ones will be helping to put together a turkey basket for a family. I'll have them do chores over the next week then we'll go to the store and buy the items together. I think it will be really good for them.
  2. abcgrad94

    abcgrad94 Active Member

    Jan 12, 2007
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    Ann, we also have had this and here's an idea that might help. For the truly legitimate families who need help, use the designated funds for them. For the others, many of which claim to be homeless or "travelling," a friend of mine came up with this idea. Make up gallon size ziplock bags with a small bar of soap, wash cloth, a couple dollars of gift certificates to a local restaurant, travel size wipes or hand sanitizer, travel size tissues, a space blanket, small sewing kit, dollar store hat or gloves, a granola bar, gum, some hard candy, or any other small items that might be useful to a homeless person or person in transit.

    You could have a Sunday School class or ladies group donate the items. Then, when a beggar (I don't mean that unkindly) comes to church, give them a goodie bad so they do not leave empty handed. If they are lying, you aren't wasting all of your funds, but neither can they say you didn't care enough to help in some way.