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Is it okay for the church to refuse to help someone in need?

I have a question about how much we, as the church, are supposed to do to help others. We are a very small congregation of believers. As the pastors wife, I have noticed that even though we are small in number, the people are extremely generous in sharing what they have with others. 

Last month an infrequent visitor to the church asked for help in paying her rent. The church immediately gave her a check. This month she has asked once again for the church to pay her rent. She was turned down. 

My heart does go out to her, but I think she was trying to take advantage of the folks' generosity. I'm struggling with this issue and would like to hear what other believers think.

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My two cents - when the leadership paid the first month's rent, they could assigned her a mentor, someone who would have mapped out a plan for future months help and future steps she would be expected to take. If she did not comply, she would be declining the help rather than the church refusing to provide help (even though the church had good reason to be concerned).
Thanks Phil, I'll bring that up to the leadership of the church. It might not help this time, but could help in the future.

Hi Marsha,

 

I was on staff with a small church where lots of people would come in for assistance.  Our church was filled with primarily elderly members who were struggling to meet their own needs.  We simply were not able to give out much monetarily so we developed a resource booklet for those who would come in, and offered rides to the organizations that met the need that they had.  There are those in our community who go from church to church with the same story, whether they receive help or not.

I believe that churches need to pray and to decide together what they can do for those in need.  Too often, we duplicate services that are already being provided by those who are called to a particular ministry.  Often these organizations have the ability and resources to a better job than we could.  I'm aware of a church in my community in which the pastor announced one Sunday that they were going to start a Soup Kitchen.  This was decided by one man without any input from others in leadership or the congregation, so needless to say, there are some issues for them to deal with.  One of reasons why this is being opposed by the congregation is that there are several ministries like this in the community and the community isn't that big and needs of those in the church are being neglected.  Discernment is definitely needed.                          

Thanks Jenni. I like the idea of the resource booklet. We have had a number of people go from church to church seeking money for gas, groceries, etc. Maybe offering them the booklet showing services available to them would be a better way to offer help.

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