of the clients have some knowledge of God.
When the interviewer asks if they are trusting God with their problem,
most answer affirmatively. Some say emphatically that without
God they would not have made it this far.
How We Tell If A
Client Is Being Honest
How do you know who
really needs help?
As a Christian organization,
we want the results of our work to reflect God's love and wisdom. We admit that our ability to "hear"
God is imperfect. So is our ability to always discern the truth from
what clients tell us. We put ourselves in His hands
and trust that our decisions are acceptable to Him.
If twenty-five people
ask for help how do you select which ones to help if you only have enough
money to assist one or two?
to help is also a process in which we use our best judgment after praying
for God's guidance. We hope we don't receive several calls in one
day from disabled or elderly persons. We hope always to give some
assistance to these persons when funds are available.
When we initially
interview a person, we generally do not offer to immediately help them.
This way, if a dramatic need comes to our attention late in the day, we
still have room to maneuver.
We may initially offer to pay $25, or $30
toward a utility payment, urge them to keep looking for the balance, then
call them back in a few days to see how they are doing.
How often do you help
the same people?
Generally our assistance
is a one time gift: an emergency payment to a utility company, a
partial rent payment, money for gas, car repairs, prescriptions, or the
like. However, a few people are stuck in a hard place. In these cases we talk with them about alternatives. We may help
a second or third time. Sometimes a radical decision by the client
is appropriate, such as moving in with a relative.
In a catastrophic
situation we may try to locate a group of people to give sustained help
for a period of time.
What do you mean exactly
when you say trust God for his direction? In practical terms how
does this work?
Once we become confident
that we are not in charge, this sets the tenor of the ministry. We
are here as God's workers to serve others in His name. He
is faithful to provided what is needed.
Knowing that we do
not have to resolve a clients' larger problem, we can move forward in a
relaxed manner and wait on discernible guidance from God. We tell
clients that God has many resources for aid. We are just one.
He makes some cases
seem more important to us than others.
All of this hinges
on believing that God wants this work accomplished, and that he uses servants
who will lean on Him for answers.
We do our best to
stay in His presence. The rest is up to Him.
Can't needy people
get their emergency needs taken care of by public non profits, or by governmental
There are many who,
for one reason or another, do not yet receive services. Governmental
aid is decreasing.
Some truly needy people
receive too little to cover emergency expenses. Many elderly person receive
$600 per month, or less. There is no money for replacing a water
heater, making roof repairs, or for extra prescriptions.
Programs that use federal money have drastically
reduced their services. They are giving clients a list of public
agencies and churches to call. Unfortunately church organization
are moving slowly to fill the gap. Many churches still have no local
How do you assist
There are various
reasons people end up on welfare. We cannot assume that they are
all lazy. Some of them deserve limited assistance in emergency situations.
Each has a story that is worth hearing.
Governmental aid is
based on legislative directives, not on biblical truths. Case workers
who have direct contact with clients are technicians who are not necessarily
compassionate. Yet, people who are poor, need a gracious, compassionate
hand to encourage them toward a higher godly style of life.
The government does
not offer spiritual advice. They cannot. However, when a client asks
us for assistance, we can steer the conversation to our own agenda, which
includes their spiritually well being.
We may offer just
a friendly ear. When a person has no one to talk with about their
problems, a ten minute positive, nonjudgmental, conversation can be valuable.
Once, after talking to a single mother about trusting God for her answer,
she phoned back a few hours later with a glowing report. "Guess what
God did," she said. She had found help from an unexpected source.
We often find a way
to talk about the godly life style.
A tangible gift, even a small one, helps.
We may send a follow up letter with a few postage stamps. God
can build on even the smallest seed.
Do you think every
local church should have it's own compassionate ministry?.
There is no better way to grow as a Christian,
than the first hand experience with people who need God's love. Jesus
said, "love others as I have loved you." People who are suffering
from financial lack should be loved just as much as those who are physically
sick should be visited in hospitals.
Even a beginning church outreach budget of $100 to $500 per month is a seed that God will use for His glory.