Deacons Mercy Ministry
Monday, November 05, 2012
Asking....Receiving and Giving Specifically
New City is a church that tries to help people in need, and all of us have needs. Some folks need food, others need financial help, some need budget counseling, some folks need a way to find a job, some folks just need to talk, but all of us need the Lord Jesus in our lives. We are blessed with people of all different shapes and sizes and cultural and economic backgrounds who have one thing in common: we all need Jesus.
One of the core values that determines how we minister is "pursuit of the poor." God has blessed us with poor people. If you're poor, you're welcome and needed here. If you have needs it is all right to ask for help. If a church member has needs they can bring them before their small group or elder for prayer and direction. They may also speak to a deacon or deaconess to see if the church may be able to help. You should not ask fellow members for financial gifts or loans. The Deacons are here to meet people's needs with confidentiality, discretion, grace, love and accountability as the Lord provides.
At New City, sometimes people may ask you for financial help. It may be following a church service or after a small group meeting. Their need may be definite and legitimate or it may be a scam. As a follower of Christ, what should you do when people ask for money? First of all, it's all right to simply say, "No, I can't help you right now." Sometimes you can't help, but you can refer them to someone who can. If you are approached here at the church, do not give anyone cash. You can take the person to a Deacon or Deaconess who can help you deal with the situation. If you are approached downtown or elsewhere, don't simply refer the person to the church, but call to see if there is something we can do. If we can't help, there may be other resources available.
Is the need legitimate? Usually, people catch you by surprise at a most inconvenient time. Most of the time you can't verify the person's story or know if the need is real, but you can ask some common sense questions and you can pray. Remember, if a person is a stranger and can easily share a story and ask you for help, he has probably done so before. For most people it is very difficult and uncomfortable to approach someone and ask for help, even for simple things like jump starting a dead battery.
Avoid giving cash. If asked for money, do not give cash to anyone. If someone needs gas or food, buy it for them. If they need assistance with rent or utilities, you can give through the church or pay the bill directly.
Do you feel uncomfortable when you are approached by a person seeking assistance? You should always be security conscious when a stranger approaches you, even before or after church. Men should be mindful to watch that women and children are not being cornered. If someone should grab you physically or touch you inappropriately, yell out immediately, call 911, and tell the pastors or church officers. Please report anyone soliciting or accosting worshippers entering or leaving the building. Everyone is welcome here, but evil behavior is not.
You should always pray for God's leading. Then, if someone approaches you with a need, you may feel better prepared to help and not be caught off guard. You also won't have to question later whether you did the right thing.
From time to time the Deacons encounter needs that are the result of death, disaster or tragedy that require funds far beyond what our normal budget and policies allow. The recent hurricanes and earthquakes are examples of that, as well as the deaths of beloved members of our church family. In these cases the Deacons try to provide specific help through gifts that come in to meet specific needs. Sometimes these are funeral and medical expenses not covered by insurance or family resources. God has provided miraculously through the gifts of his people in the past and we trust him to provide for the needs before us today. Checks may be made to New City Fellowship with designation made to the Deacons.
To this end the work of the deacons is a spiritual ministry, and therefore in need at all times of the prayers and support of the body of Christ. The deacons and deaconesses are representatives of the Church, acting as the arms and the feet of the Lord Jesus. Talk to any deacon or deaconess for opportunities for service