Who Should the Church Help?

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There are basic levels to every question and then those issues quickly become more and more complex.  We found that at the church in Alotau we were dealing with the complex issues before first understanding the basic fundamentals of giving.  Here are some of our reflections on the fundamental principles of the church as a helping community.

By way of introduction, let me give some background information to the financial scene in Alotau.  Many people are poor in terms of monetary ownership.  Because savings is not a value in that culture people often find themselves financially struggling.  As a result, we get a lot of benevolence requests.  Yet, our church is composed of the same group of poor, so our church contributions are not massive.  As a result of these two factors, the church is forced to say no to some requests, and those working on the ‘giving team’ (benevolence) often feel overwhelmed at the task before them.  The comments in this post share my attempt to educate the church about giving and helping people.  I have left much of the material in its more simplistic English and style.

Helping People / Benevolence Ministry

In the church some of the hardest decisions involve the question, who should we help?  In a church setting those who answer this question are often part of a benevolence, or giving team.

Usually a set of guidelines help to make these decisions easier, but never easy. These guidelines come from direct biblical teachings, biblical principals, and wisdom.

Here is an example of some guidelines:

Timothy encouraged the churches that he worked with to help the widows. Interestingly, Timothy also presented some rules to help the church know who to help.  Those guidelines can be found in 1 Tim. 5:9-16.

  • She must be a widow.
  • She must be over 60 years old.
  • She was faithful to her husband.
  • She does good deeds.
  • She does not have family to care for her physical needs.

Therefore, we see it is alright for churches to make guidelines about who they will help and in what ways.

Who should the church help?

  1. The Bible does talk about helping in a regular way those who have no way of working or providing for themselves. We see in Acts 6:1-7 the church appointed a group of people to help the widows of the church. Often in the Bible the kinds of people that have no way of working or providing for themselves are the widows and orphans (James 1:27).  I believe that today we have new categories of people like single mothers to whom the church should give special attention. The church can help if the family cannot, but it should be the family’s responsibility first (1 Tim. 5:16).
  2. The Bible talks about helping those who are poor or suffering because of an emergency event. For example, Acts 11:28-30 there was a famine in Judea and other church members collected funds to help those in the famine.
  3. Needy people from another place. Heb. 13:2
  4. James 2:15-17 and Gal. 6:10 talk about the importance of caring for those inside the church. We don’t ignore those outside of the church, but we give first needs to those in the family of God. We can provide assistance to our own church members.
  5. The church is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:23). The church must do with its funds what Christ would have done if he had those funds. Luke 4:18-19 talks about Jesus’ ministry to the poor, prisoners, blind, and those being ruled over.

Things to Remember:

  1. The Bible does not support helping those who have a way to work but choose not to because they are lazy. 1 Thess. 4:11-12 – we should work for our food. 2 Thess. 3:10-12. It is not honorable to depend on the church to give us something we or our family can give us.
  2. The Bible does not support helping those who have a way to provide for their family / themselves, but misused the money on other unimportant things. 1 Tim. 5:8.
  3. Sometimes we must realize money is not a person’s problem. Prov. 17:16 says money is not valuable in the hands of a fool. If the church gives money to a foolish person we know it will be misused.
  4. The church should think carefully about (1) lending money, (2) doing what another organization does, and (3) working a business.
    1. We should not lend money because Prov. 22:7. We do not want people’s spiritual motives confused with physical motives. Banks exist to help people with loans. If the cause is good give money, but loaning money destroys relationships.
    2. Since we only have limited funds, if there is an organization in town that helps someone with something, we can refer the person to that organization.
    3. The church should not loan money for business projects. The money entrusted to the church is for good works, not for business projects.

Photo by Flowerey L*u*z*a

What else do you think the church needs to remember in its helping ministry?


  1. says

    Great article. What can the church do? Empower its congregation. I believe that the members of the church want to give more to their church, they want to volunteer more, they want to do more, encourage,empower and enable them to do so. We focused our efforts on enabling church goers to give more to their church.
    We started http://www.divinecoupons.com as a vessel for church members to give more than they’ve been able to give. We like to think that we have coupons for christ on our site. We offer over $400 a month in free coupons on our site for groceries and houhold items. The site is free and no registration is needed, just select all and print from your home. We then encourage the users at our site to give 10,20,30, or 100 percent of what they save to their church, hence empowering them to make a difference. It works, STEWARDSHIP is alive and well. Give ou program a look, divinecoupons.com read the mision and process page, and please tell us what you think.
    God bless,

  2. frank Pontillo says

    From ESV Study Bible, article on Stewardship: Stewardship and the Poor “The Bible clearly and repeatedly emphasizes the need for Christians to care for the poor as one of the fundamental requirements of the gospel message. Jesus himself was born to poor parents (cf. Luke 2:24 and note) and had few possessions during his public ministry (Matt 8:20). Jesus says that as his followers do, or do not do, “the least of these” (i.e. those who are hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked), so they either do it, or do not do it, to him (Matt. 25:35-45; cf. the teaching in Proverbs that connects one’s attitude to the poor with his or her relationship to God: Prov. 14:31, 19:17, 21:13). Paul and the early church took Jesus’ teaching seriously and were “eager” “to remember the poor” (Gal. 2:10). In fact, Paul achored his appeal to care for the poor in Jerusalem in the cross, that is, in Jesus’ own atoning self-sacrifice: “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor” (2 Cor. 8:9). The generosity of the church both within and outside the family of faith eventually led the anti-Christian Roman emperor, Julian the Apostate (4th century A.D.), to complain, “Nothing has contributed to the progress of the superstition of the Christians as their charity to strangers…The impious Galileans provide not only for their own poor, but for ours as well” (Julian, Epistles 84). Such care for the poor often takes the form of meeting immediate needs for food, clothing, and other essentials (cf. Luke 10:25-36; James 2:15-17; 1 John 3:17-18).” One of the biggest problems in the church in America is our high standard of living with respect to others around us. We neglect the commands of Jesus who says we are to love our neighbor as our self. When asked who is my neighbor Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan who helped a “stranger”. If the church is made up of followers of Christ they should follow his teaching with regards to strangers who may be poor as did the early church and the world took notice.

    • Susan says

      I totally agree, especially when you mention our American way of life. I have been raising a grandchild for the past 14 years. That, in addition to one health concern after another. Did I mention we have camped out in the living room of an abusive relative for the entire time and what was supposed to be only a few months has turned into years? I believe the Lord has allowed me to experience this side of life so I could clearly see the out of context opinions of people who know no lack and turn away when they see a real need. Shame on them. All of them. It’s one thing to think twice about helping a lazy person (although Jesus Himself tells us to give to ANYONE who asks in Luke 6 expecting nothing in return). Talk about a test. It’s quite another issue to look past the need of those in front of you as if it doesn’t exist. My grandson has grown up in church and in the Word. He sees the hypocrisy when it comes to most American Christians and their money and he thinks it’s a sham. Want to truly measure a persons sincerity in their walk with Christ? Ask them to part with a few dollars for a person of lowly status. Funny how these same people will help someone who really doesn’t need it because of their position. I could go on and on but the bottom line is this. These people are a stumbling block to the ones they look beyond. God have mercy on them. You mention 1 John 3:17. Good job. Leaves a pretty clear message. This is a test that most are failing. They’d rather invest in a mega building that will soon turn to ruins than to follow the selfless example of Jesus Who had no place to lay His head and yet gave everything He had to redeem such selfish people. Thanks for being one of a few who seem to get this principle. I appreciate your sincerity.

      • Sherry Armstrong says

        Yes,I wanted to know what type assistance that you all provide,cause I need help, I would really appreciate a email back,or you can call me at 404-600-6950

  3. sharon says

    Hi Craig,
    Just read your blog for the first time… I go to a small church (250 people) and the congregation seems to be filled with young parents who are having babies. Someone is always having a baby! I mean I have 3 grandchildren, the newest is 2 months old. I am working full time and my question is: even though the church is always letting us know we can help with meals etc.. if we want to, I am wondering if this is something we should do? I mean how many meals can I make and not be neglecting my own family and draining my own finances? It took me an entire afternoon to make just one meal, and it costs $$ to do this with 4 courses (salad, main course, bread, dessert). That was just 1 meal for 1 family. The babies just keep coming and so do the requests for meals.. who should help with this and what does the Bible say about it? Thanks!

    • says

      I think that providing meals and gifts is a great way to show the love of Christ. That said, if a person isn’t physically or financially able to do so then I’d suggest they gracefully decline to participate. Also, if the opportunity to serve is becoming burdensome I’d consider spending some time in prayer and self reflection to see if a person has a generous heart. Saying either yes or no would both be appropriate responses.

  4. Nilo Grajo says

    Greetings in the name our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Is it good for the church not to lend money to any members or elders of the church?

    Who are in really in need or emergency need financially?.

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  6. says

    i need some financial assistances to get me a used car that i really need. mine broke down and i had to have it tolled away. i sure did hate that. i have a drivers licenses but its not doing me any good in myb back pocket. could you please send me some financial help thro the mail to me joann james 344 henry st.,stanleytown,va.24168. i sure would appreciate it very much. MAY GOD BLESS YOU TODAY AND ALWAYS! THANK YOU JOANN JAMES

  7. says

    I hereby wish to express my greetings to you and the entire congregation in the name of Our Lord Jesus and Our master savior.
    On the behalf of fire zone prayers, I wish to asked your humble office to assist us in sending or donating some Holy Bibles and instruments to help in spreading the gospel in our communities and also empower the children of God through His words and prayers.
    1 Peter 2:1-2
    “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”
    Thank you. I hope my request will be granted in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen

    • says

      I hereby wish to express my greetings to you and the entire congregation in the name of Our Lord Jesus and Our master savior.
      On the behalf of fire zone prayers, I wish to asked your humble office to assist us in sending or donating some Holy Bibles and instruments to help in spreading the gospel in our communities and also empower the children of God through His words and prayers.
      1 Peter 2:1-2
      “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”
      Thank you. I hope my request will be granted in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen

  8. frankie cunes says

    my business was looking for IRS 4506 last month and was informed about an online service that hosts lots of fillable forms . If you require IRS 4506 too , here’s a http://goo.gl/JgFnJ6.

  9. Alan Warrick says


    I live in the Atlanta area and I am in a urgent financial situation. I need to find a nonprofit or charity that would loan a low interest loan very soon in order to finish the car registration by paying the repair shop and getting the emission past. This would be at least $1200.00 and would allow for a small payment for 1 to 2 years. If you have any suggestions that would be a tremendous help. I have been taking the bus and walking for 6 months.

  10. Thomas Lawson says

    Well I think the lines are blurred in the aspects of what the church should do. I gave over four thousand dollars last year to my church and all of the sudden the first week of January. 2017 I got hit with over 2000 dollars from my kids orthodontist visit. It killed me financially and when I reached out to my pasters what I got was “we don’t give money let’s see what God does with this” are you FN kidding me. I now have to find away to put food on the table while the senior paster plans the next trip for his staff. I absolutely think in our hour of need the church should step up. They have ever no problem telling me that if I don’t give 10%of gross iam sinning but when I need help where are they. I tell you who is in the wrong here and it is not me for asking. Who do you think God will judge more.

    • D. Morgan says

      Dear Mr. Lawson, I certainly understand your frustration & the financial predicament
      you find yourself in.. It seems to me that the Modern Day Church has become unmoored from it’s original intent. Clearly, Christ’s Disciples took care of the very real physical,immediate needs of those surrounding them in their daily lives.

      They did, however, exist in an entirely different societal structure than we do today where most families were large & conducted themselves almost like little villages within the village; they all pitched in to care for each other … & only afterward did they offer the “crops outlining” their property to those with no way to support themselves, but were willing to harvest those crops on their own steam..The Levites/Priests come to mind & the widow who could not survive on her own. If you read scripture, it shows Jesus & His disciples performing miracles to heal people & inform others about God’s Word & Christ’s Salvation. You saw them feeding the people NOT doling out $$$!

      I think churches have become far too large & ambitious. Pastors have been turned into CEO’s with Bonuses, Automobile Allowances, Houses & Pensions! Ridiculous!

      The overwhelming majority have been “swept up” in this obsession w/massive building projects, Parsonages in Affluent neighborhoods, Pensions, Large, Luxurious, State of the Art Facilities, New & Better Churches in Other countries while members of their own congregation fall on hard times!

      They FAIL to notice that the Economy NO longer can Support the Generous Financial Gifts that once flooded into the local Church Community! These people were once the local business owners, doctors, attorneys, & generously paid middle class of America of yesterday year!!

      Churches are NO longer satisfied w/ Local Soul Saving, but rather have convinced themselves that building Mega Churches in foreign Countries are somehow more in keeping with the Goals of the Church!! It takes an Enormous budget to fulfill ALL of these Goals & the huge Administrative Bureaucracy that goes along with it!!
      The average parishioner has been swallowed up by his society & is now being swallowed up by his own church!

      This is NOT the same Country or Economy it was in the 50′s, 60′s 70s.. Even 80′s!
      Massive economic & societal changes have shifted wealth away from those who would generally be the congregant of that day.. Neighborhoods, towns were an homogenized group most of whom viewed the world in the same way & had a genuine sense of Community with His Fellowman.. This is NOT THE CASE TODAY! & it CERTAINLY NOT THE FAULT of the person who feels they woke up one morning & their Country & ALL of it’s Traditions, Culture, language & Sense Community had been Stripped from Him/Her!

      The Middle Class NO longer holds the Wealth it did 50 years ago, people NO longer are paid pensions nor given Career Paths by Wealthy Companies that used to reside in our cities & towns!

      Inflation has robbed most Americans of the ability to get ahead except for the very shrewd, connected or with a specific profession that enable them to advance.

      The Vast Majority of Middle Class Americans are behind NOT Ahead in savings!

      There are VERY FEW Advanced Careers for most, The Ability to comfortably Provide for their family has become More & More Difficukt!

      Yet the Church continues to hit these poor folks over the head as if Nothing’s happenedthem in the last 50 years!! The people who resided in the neighborhoods could NOT HAVE IMAGINED the Enormous REAL ESTATE TAX BILLS that have burdened them! The middle class individual is now picking up the tab for both rich & poor.. Years ago if you wanted to send your children to a private school you would do so if you could afford it, now we’ve convinced the citizen to pay enormous taxes for new schools, salaries & other extra curricular activities once reserved for those w/ the ability to pay for it…NOT the family making $50,000 a year! We’ve lost our minds & we wonder why the “OLD” ways of Budgeting in the Church isn’t working?!

      This is why SO Many articles have been written about the “Shrinking Middle Class”!

      These are the very same members from whom the church demands a 10% Tithe!!
      This is Ludicrous!!

      Do you think this is what Jesus would support? Of course not! In fact Jesus took the Pharisees to task for taking from the average man or woman to Enrich Themselves!

      So, the next time you feel the least bit guilty about failing to tithe because you’d rather take care of your own family first… Don’t!! The Bible says those who fail to take care of their family are worse than the Unbelievers!! Pretty Clear to me!

      It’s one thing to appeal to your congregation for advancing the Gospel locally or inspired Charity Projects, it’s an entirely different thing to ask those among you to become one of those charity projects! Anyone that asks you to delay or stop taking care of the needs of your own family first is NOT of God!

      Your gift to the Lord to help others in need is specifically intended to be offered after ALL BILLS have been paid & an emergency fund set aside for the necessities of life & your family!

      A Christian is to be an example to the world in how he conducts himself in all ways, including financial matters

      We are to meet our expenses in a wise, prudent & Godly fashion.. Any other attempt to lay “Guilt” on you for refusing to tithe when you obviously have other financial responsibilities is an abomination to the Word of God!

      Would the Lord ask you to stop paying your mortgage so you might meet your Church’s Demands?!

      God is a force for Good, not Misery to enrich a Church Hierarchy!!
      He’s a God of logic, order, love of family, Compassion for your children way before your local or national church!

      In fact, I believe the Church Must begin to “Walk the Walk” & Refuse their 501c3 status! This has become Big Business & a Politically Driven Monster that BEARS LITTLE RESEMBLANCE TO THE CHURCH GOD HAS INTENDED FOR HIS PEOPLE!

      Hope this helps.. I’ve long ago Refused to go along with what I know is an outright corruption of the Church & God’s Word!

    • richard root says

      A pulpit offer fell through and I need to borrow 2,000.00 to see through the next six months. If you are able I would appreciate it very much, if not then God Bless. Love and Prayers.

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  12. Richard Lutz says

    Sir: My name is Rick Lutz. I recently left NY State for job opportunities and health reasons. I am a Vietnam Era veteran though I was too young to serve in the war. I am in dire need of help. Today I had my car towed. My license was taken due to some NY state suspension. In the mean time my insurance was cancelled due to the suspension. I had a heart attack and triple bypass in 2016 and am now able to go back to work. My car is important to the job. I don’t know where else to turn. I’m looking at between $700 and $1000. Please help me or send me to help if possible. Thank you and God bless.

    Rick Lutz

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