Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Should churches do more, preach less?

Throughout tonight's meeting, participants mentioned bringing in the churches to help more. Many churches already help people in need from hosting food pantries and soup kitchens to providing buses passes and financial aid.

I spent the day interviewing people at various agencies who were seeking help from area non-profits. During my interviews, several people mentioned they could go to churches for help, but they don't like the hassle. Many complained that when they sought help at churches who offer services, they have to listen to a sermon or attend a worship service.

One woman mentioned she was seeking help at a church and watched the staff refuse to provide aid for an unmarried couple. The clients I interviewed complained it's against scripture not to help everyone in need. But other clients said beggars can't be choosers -- if someone needs help, they should be willing to listen to a sermon.

What do you think?

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

its the same as saying I want money, but i dont want to work for it...I would think that a beggar cant be a chooser....listening to a sermon (wow, a whole hour) would be worth receiving help in return....yes I am taught in church that we help all people in need, but the needy also have to come with a humble heart

Anonymous said...

This statement is too vague for a specific response. Churches should help those in need, but they should do so in a responsible manner. This does not mean someone short on cash can just expect a handout from the local church. If someone needs food and the church has a food supply closet, then by all means the church should help. Churches are also facing limited resources, just as most other organizations are, in this economy.

As for the unmarried couple, if they would like to invoke the scriptures, they should not even be living together. That is a completely different topic though.

Anonymous said...

Preach teach and if possible offer some relief in the form of food or help with shelter. Churches not preaching are not doing.

steve said...

I think that when people say stuff like that it shows that they are missing the point. If you want help from a church you should expect a sermon. It is not the church's job just to hand out help and just move people along. It is the church's job to bring every person, no matter what their circumstance might be, to salvation from their sin through the blood of Jesus Christ. Christ's mercy is first and foremost, we have to spread the gospel their eternity depends on it. People love to go to the Bible when it suits their side of an argument and say that Jesus helped those in need, and I agree 100%. However, Jesus never took care of someone physically without fulfilling their spiritual needs, don't take my word for it get out that Bible you have and read it, I pray the Holy Spirit will convict you.

Sam Vimes said...

If you really meant the question you ended with, this entire post would be different. Come on, is this really journalism?

Anonymous said...

This is America, regardless of assembly or creed, an organization, including a church has the freedom to choose whom or what they donate their resources.

If they find unwed families unacceptable, they can choose to provide to someone else, obviously wed.

Anonymous said...

I think that the churches are not obligated to help anyone and that they help at all should be considered a great gift and sacrifice on thier behalf. If you don't want to hear a little preaching to get some money then dont' go to the churches and ask for a hand out!

As for the unmarried couple, well, if that church doesn't condone living together unmarried you should just move along to the next hand-out giver on your list. No one (or group or church) HAS to help you. People today act like welfare and handouts are a right and don't even respect the people giving them help.

I also wonder, how many of these people who get 'help' say "thank you" and really mean it! My guess is very few.

I have decreased my charitable contributions in the recent years due to a few factors, one is the lack of respect people have for the organizations that help them, another is the use of funds donated, and then there's also the gov't taken more of my money just to turn around and give out to ungrateful non-working, idiots who think its a right for them to be lazy and just get a check form the gov't because they feel its owed them.

Anonymous said...

You should not ask a church to compromise it's message or morals to meet the needs of those who do not think then need to repent or change. A church's mission is to minister and help those that want to do the right thing. If a robber with a gun walks up to you and demands your money and jewelry because he thinks he needs it, does that make it right? No, I don't think so, and neither should you. If I were to walk into any charity in Charlotte and ask for $10,000 with no explanation or reason, how many would give it to me? None. Yet they think they should have that right with churches. Just think about it.

Anonymous said...

"Should churches do more, preach less?"

Yes bloviation is overrated and indicative of subterfuge, actions speak volumes mere words can not.

Anonymous said...

Churches should be taxed.

Anonymous said...

Tax the churches.

They exist mainly to help themselves.

Anonymous said...

The mission of the Christian Church is to preach the Word of God and lead persons to Christ. Others things such as having a good marketing plan, daycare, school, etc. are important but still secondary to leading persons to Christ. Critics want churches to be anything but churches. There are other organizations that can serve those purposes. Church needs to remain church!

rcheney said...

As a deacon at a local church, I can tell you that there are at least two reasons that we require people seeking aid from us to attend a service, as well as meet with a team of deacons to discuss their situation.

The first is that the Gospel is the primary and most important thing we offer. Christ has said, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world if he lose his soul?"

The second is to be good stewards of the funds at our disposal. We never want to be like those who say "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?"(James 2:15-16)

But at the same time, the resources we have at our disposal were donated by God's people for the purpose of doing His work. And certainly that work includes helping those in need. But those resources are limited, and we have learned the hard way that there are many people who will treat a church as an ATM machine, to be quite honest. That is not the mission our Lord gave to us.

Even Scripture makes a difference among those in need. In other words, there are different kinds of poor. For example If someone shows up at our church in a brand new SUV, looking for financial assistance (which has happened), then he probably needs something other than simply a handout. He needs wise counsel about financial stewardship.

And I apologize for being so wordy. But please know that these procedures we follow are not merely hoops we take pleasure in making needy people jump through. Our consideration must be not only for those seeking help from us, but also for the resources our Lord has entrusted us with.

kontan said...

I think you're trying to stir the pot and create controversy. There are churches out there helping unconditionally. Much of their funds go to support various local missions projects that require nothing from anyone else. Why not highlight those instead of offering generalizations and finger pointing that churches need to do more more more? Did you happen to interview anyone receiving food on the street in Uptown each Saturday afternoon? No conditions there.

MarkD said...

Churches should help the poor. It is our job as Christians to do so. I don't think it's too much to ask that someone sit through a church service or a sermon though. It's our job to feed the soul as well as the body. If more churches did their job in taking care of the poor then so many wouldn't have to rely on the government. But people shouldn't take advantage of the kindness of others and go from church to church for help. One of the problems with so many nowadays is there is no shame in not trying. It's ok to ask for help when you really need it, no shame in that. The shame should be in depending on others when you aren't trying yourself. Driving from church to church shouldn't be your full time job.

Anonymous said...

Christians should certainly do more. Churches, not so much.

The New Testament gives individual Christians a broad mandate to do good to all men, especially those of the household of faith. Churches, on the other hand, are depicted exclusively helping believers.

Don't believe me? Read your Bible.

alysse said...

Unfortunately the reason why some churches have requirements is because past abuse. Sermons are just meant to be part of the aid in helping them deal with the stress and in some instance give teaching tips to help overcome the issues that caused the problem. It should never be an affront to a person's dignity. A free hand is often abused and unappreciated. One of the reasons Habitat for humanity requires work from those receiving the gift. There needs to be accountability.

Anonymous said...

Volunteers often "do good" in order to fulfill their own needs. Churches provide them with a means to accomplish this. Church food banks are a good example of this ... they often dictate how much of what foods their clients can take with them, rather than let their clients select what they want. This allows their volunteers to get a sense of control and fulfillment at the same time. But is it the same as charity?

While we rely on volunteers to fulfill community needs, churches could help their volunteers grow spiritually by helping them examine their own motivations for volunteering and coming to terms with their own unmet needs. Charity frequently is not charity. So it's no surprise that preaching is linked to "doing good." You can get help here, but you have to at least pretend to believe what we profess to believe, so we feel more secure in our own beliefs.

Or as the Billie Holiday song said,"You can help yourself, but don't take too much."

Tyler said...

I don't think it would hurt to listen to a sermon, even if you don't share the beliefs I have found most religions are based on love, acceptance and the helping of those in need. Also wouldn't hurt if the people in the church actually listen to and in some cases even those preaching it.

Anonymous said...

Two things here:
1. If Churches and their congregations choose give their money/time/resources they certainly have the right to do so in any fashion they see fit, with a sermon or without.

2. The last thing I want is more Church involvement in issues involving people in need. Being an atheist, I think religion ends up being one of the most divisive issues in the world. In general I want people to be given the chance to believe in themselves before they put their 'faith' in the blind faith of religion.

Anonymous said...

One of the oldest and most respected non-profits is the Salvation Army - and they have always required their clients who receive services to participate in a faith service. As a Christian, I certainly do not see anything wrong in asking someone to give a few minutes to participate.

I am a volunteer at my church, for people in job transition. This ministry is open to the community and we have non-christians and non-members taking advantage of the program and they are not required or requested to participate in a service.

I think what's important is that anyone receiving help during difficult times should be committed to giving back to someone else who may need help.

Kevin Smith said...

The reason churches are tax exempt in the first place is because they were tasked with providing services to the poor and needy. They've done nothing except promote their own agenda and make themselves richer. "Roofing funds" and high preacher salaries and perks take the place of helping people who are starving. They've had their chance and they've failed.

Anonymous said...

Churches cannot possibly help "everyone in need." They, too, rely on donations from church members - members who may also have lost jobs and are in financial trouble. The woman you quoted cannot possibly know why the "unmarried couple" was refused help. There could be many reasons. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with having to hear a sermon - the church is instructed to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ - they are to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of people. In this economy, many churches are doing all they can to help their own members who need it. You can't put an additional burden on them by saying they should help EVERYONE in need. Many of them are hurting, too.

Anonymous said...

"Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering and injustice when He could do something about it."
"Well, why don't you ask Him?"
"Because I'm afraid He would ask me the same question."
Anonymous quote from: The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Sterns
Of course the church could be doing more and we should be. But to do that we must grow a bigger heart of compassion. We must pray that our hearts will break for the same things that break the heart of God.

JAMES MCCOY said...

I don't know what "God" some members of various Church's follow but the God I follow says not to judge ANYONE! I feel if your God operates like my God he or she leaves no room for your opinion.

Anonymous said...

"Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering and injustice when He could do something about it."
"Well, why don't you ask Him?"
"Because I'm afraid He would ask me the same question."
Anonymous quote from: The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Sterns
Of course the church could be doing more and we should be. But to do that we must grow a bigger heart of compassion. We must pray that our hearts will break for the same things that break the heart of God.

Anonymous said...

It sounds to me like those wanting "help" without the "hassle" are looking for a handout and not necessarily a better life.

Without the sermon, church would be just another social agency.

While Jesus said to help those who need help, he also said "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"

BigMikey said...

Great topic. I would lean heavily toward helping first. I do understand that the church has an order from on high to spread the gospel of Christ, and so there is a need to explain why they are offering help, but nothing shows the humanity of believers like action. They should help first, and let things play out beyond that.

And when it comes to helping an organization, I believe a simple yes or no from the church is sufficient. Passing the message is more of an individual thing than corporate, in terms of impact.

Excellent topic, btw.

Anonymous said...

Is it really that difficult to listen to a sermon or attend a service if you are asking for help?

Anonymous said...

2 Thessalonians 3:10
For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

Will Kindle said...

I see a churches main responsibility as preaching the word of God. I don't think a church should be another form of social welfare.

Now on the other hand, members of the church should feel a responsibility to help others in need.

Anonymous said...

Yes, If they want help they should be willing to listen to a sermon.

Many churches do have strict guidelines about how they will and will not help due to being scammed so many times.

I can't see asking a church to help with food when you're still paying for cable, cell phones, internet, etc. If people would cut out alot of the luxuries in life some wouldn't need help.

To those that have cut these things out and still need help. I wish them the best of luck.

Granddad Hodges said...

There is a difference between help and a hand-out. Hand-outs tend to make those in need, needier. Help on the other hand will address the root cause of the need for help.

roughart2009 said...

Got God Gang

wow what an opportunity to share the gospel

only one time in my 37 yrs of waking with the Lord have i needed to lean on the church for some help

and they helped but they told everybody in the church and their cousins about my situation

i learned a great deal

so now i refer to this type of church as

country club christians who preach the 'full gossip'

fast forward

i'm still waking with the Lord but don't go to any church in this area

Jesus said " i am the vine and ye are the branches "

watch out for the camouflaged catepillars in your branches; they will eat all your leafs as they work their mouths

more later....
my comment on national healthcare coming soon after we secure the border

Anonymous said...

Richard Pryor did a take on Jesus coming back walking up to a big money preacher saying Ok Im back so wheres all my money? You are doing all this for me in my name right? So wheres my money since you use my name to get it. The preacher just look stunned and stuttered ... I got no money ... I dont know what you talking about ...

Anonymous said...

Evangelism is part of the deal. Spiritual aid should be expected as part of the relief package.

Anonymous said...

My opinion: I think that people looking for help and decide to ask a church, why shouldn't they hear the Gospel? Jesus commissioned us to spread the good news to every corner of the earth, when someone comes to the church why not? I don't however, think it a prerequisite to helping them though...yes the Bible says to help the needy, but there is a difference in helping someone and enabling a habit. I am all for the helping out, but I am also all for the spreading of the Gospel...I see the same applies when someone decides to go to the meetings of a timeshare just to get the Disney-park pass for free...Churches are non-profit also, they too are affected by the economy and have to help others in a way that doesn't pull them under for the next wave of those that are seeking help. God Provides...always has, always will...hope you have a great day.

Jason K. said...

It seems that whenever it comes to balancing the social/spiritual implications of the Gospel, churches can find themselves up against a rock and a hard place.

With the freedom of Religion comes the complications that it makes. For example, a church may feel that it is condoning what it believes is "sinful" behavior by providing assistance to an unmarried couple.

With regards to listening to a sermon for assistance... I don't know if its the best approach to take to get someone to listen to the Gospel, but seriously? If you want somone to pay your 100-200 dollar electric bill, and your not willing to sit through a 2 hour 1-2hour service to humor their good will? I dunno...

Anonymous said...

No one who is truly in need should ever be turned away regardless of the church's interpretation of the Bible; Jesus turned away no one when he fed the thousands after one of his sermons. I'm sure the disciples didn't go through the crowds and ask if people were married, churched, etc. That being said, churches also have to protect themselves against the scammers; I have a family member who has done this in the past, going to churches at Christmas time and giving a hard luck story to score presents that were then taken to a pawn shop for cash. Unfortunately today there are the "professional" unemployed and homeless that take advantage of anything free.

Anonymous said...

Churches are pure b.s. money making machines with an agenda. If you tell them sure you can go feed these kids in Africa or build wells for them BUT you cannot preach one word to them. They are not going to go. It's all about their preaching and that's it.

I say TAX the HELL out of them. I am sick of them being exempt. That would surely help our countries deficit out some.

Pat Marcum said...

I am the executive director of Love INC, a faith-based ministry in Charlotte that works to link churches and church members to people who have unmet needs. I feel it is really important to recognize that,in Charlotte, at least, there are thousands of church members who are taking their precious time and resources and using them for the poor. In 2008, more than 13,000 people in Charlotte were helped by more than 2,500 church volunteers, from 170 churches of 23 different denominations. They provided more than 70 different types of services to the poor, elderly and disabled in our community.
It is sad that a few people feel they have been mistreated by a church, but more important to recognize, I think, that most church members really do want to help others. They may not know how to go about it or they may want someone to do the legwork ahead of time, as Love INC does, to verify that the people asking for help really are low-income and that they are who they say they are. We have found that once church members see that this verification work has been done ahead of time, they are usually more than happy to reach out and serve in many, many ways. That doesn't mean that more shouldn't be done, but just that we ought to acknowledge the wonderful work that many Charlotte churches are already doing.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME TOPIC!! ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE THAT ARE MATURE ENOUGH TO READ BETWEEN THE LINES...As a woman that is very active in the chusrch I have a double standard on this..

1. I do think that the church has really gone a little too far in some areas as far as the criteria, NOT ALL OF THEM BUT SOME OF THEM ARE RIDICULOUS!!

2.As a CEO of a For-Profit Company that assist the elderly and disabled what I have experienced is that they still hold these people to the same standards as an able bodied person and a lot of times they don't get the help thatt they need bc they can not attend one of the services or classes..HOW FOOLISH IS THAT?? But just bc the family that is able to attend makes it to the class, the ones that made the way are neglected..that is obsurd..I actually took the time to call around for a few clients to some of the churches in Charlotte to get help for some of my clients and I called close to 113 Churches and the sad part is the majority of Black Churches had tons of red tape and I exolained that they iwere elderly and that did not care not to mention that one Asst Pastor Blasted me and hung up the phone bc I asked her why don't the elderly and disabled get some slack..and these were mega churches..it made me angry so I went against all of my rules to help these people and assure that their services would not be interrupted..I understand there are rules but God has made expceptions for us all and when it somes to those that are elderly and disabled there had to be something set aside for them...

3. It is not a bad thing to have them attend A SERMON or A CLASS..not tons of classes and all that other stuff that I have heard some people go through ..some of this processes require everything other than their DNA..FOOLISHNESS...and why does it take a whole board with your whole life? I disagree with that..all of that is not needed for the documentation of a non-profit...TRUST ME I KNOW..I HAVE ONE!!..I feel you should get to the point of the basics and not try to preach AT people about their situation but TALK to them...people don't like to be preached at they prefer to be talked to about the goodness of God...maybe this is why so many people shun away from the church..I have also witnessed some of these churches making people feel less than bc they are in a position in the so called Lord's house...my,my,my,,,that would make anyone prefer to sit in the dark than accept the money...and WE GET IT TWISTED...it doesn't matter what your situation you always have a choice beggar or not..God rightfully gave us that and no man can tell us otherwise..regardless of how low a person is you don't know you may be blessing the next Bill Gates or Donald Trump...a persons hardhips does not define who they are it is just a part of their evolution for who God has called them to be!! chiquanabanxx@yahoo.com