You might be surprised (but maybe not) that quite often when I talk to people about the homeless, or catch a social media conversation regarding the homeless, I VERY OFTEN hear this: “Well what are the churches doing?” or “Where are the churches?…Why aren’t they doing more?”
On one hand, I get it, on the hand I’m frustrated by it. So here are my thoughts about it, would love your feedback.
1. Churches are only one type of organization that can serve the homeless.
Churches are full of people who (generally speaking) believe serving the poor is part of living a Christian life, so yes, it goes without saying that a church would help facilitate that. BUT churches facilitate service to the poor in many different ways and cannot be expected to serve everyone in every way. It is MY job to live out my faith and I alone will justify my choices at the pearly gate. I serve where my passions and faith lead me, not just what my church does or doesn’t do.
2. Churches are TAPPED OUT!
Many churches will tell you that they are struggling to stay financially afloat and that church leaders are doing way more than a human should have to undertake! Any additional responsibilities have to be CAREFULLY considered, not because they don’t want to serve, but because, although Spiritual, they are not superheroes.
3. Churches ARE doing a lot…all the time!
Churches give to individuals in need, organize drives for needed items, serve in local agencies, and give to local missions. Beyond the actual church, Christians are serving and giving all the time (and before you jump: I know, there are plenty of Christians who are not. Remember…they stand alone at the pearly gate so not my job to judge).
4. Everyone is responsible for the needy!
Pointing to churches as the designated caretakers of the poor is a cop-out. We are all responsible. Government bodies at every level, social service agencies, community groups, corporate and local businesses, and YOU. We can stand at the sidelines and post on social media about making it the responsibility of the poor to help themselves, but if that were easy, they would have helped themselves already. They need us. All of us.
Supporting organizations that are actually helping is your way to contribute. Donate money or items, volunteer your time, connect us with people or organizations who can help us. Do something…other than pointing fingers.
Check out what we do: http://www.fortitudecommunityoutreach.org