We get a LOT of calls from people asking for money, and so does every other church in the area. We’ve never met these people before-- they just go down the Yellow Pages looking for a church that will give them a handout. Occasionally we may hear from a truly deserving person in great need. More frequently, we just get calls from people with bad financial habits who want a handout, or in some cases, drug money. Some people who call churches are outright scamsters, peddling the same sob story to every church in town and taking the “same” money from each one who will give them something. (There are benefits to the fact that many local pastors talk to each other!) So before you ask us for money, we can tell you some questions that we may ask YOU because we want to know if you’re deserving of help or just a lousy financial steward or an outright crook.
-- Are you employed? If not, if you are physically able to work, are you actively looking for work or just content to live on the dole, funded by those who DO work? The Bible commands us not to help you if you’re too lazy to get a job (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
-- Can we come see where you live and meet your family?
-- Do you have any assets (motorcycle, ATV, expensive video game consoles, etc.) that you could sell to help pay for your immediate need?
-- How much money are you spending on cigarettes -- money that you would otherwise have to meet your expenses if you just quit the habit?
-- How much money do you waste on lottery tickets every year?
-- How much money do you spend on alcoholic drinks every year?
-- Are you willing to come to our church regularly for a month before receiving a handout?
-- Are you willing to attend a series of biblical financial management classes before receiving a handout?
-- Is Jesus Christ Lord of your life? If so, are you currently obeying Hebrews 10:25 and regularly attending church somewhere (if so, where -- we WILL call your pastor and ask about you)? If not, why are you turning to a church for help if you have no interest in church or in serving Jesus? Are you aware that the Bible teaches that we should discriminate in our giving -- that helping other Christians comes first? (See the article We Discriminate for more on this topic.)
In case you think these questions are intrusive, remember that it intrudes into our time when total strangers call us asking for money. (Like almost every pastor in Maine, Pastor Steve also works a secular job to support himself, so his free time is limited.) No church can meet all the needs of the people who call, so we need to be good stewards and make sure that we’re giving to those who deserve it most. It is our goal to be compassionate toward those in real need who deserve help, while being wise enough not to finance bad habits by giving money to people who will continue to waste it and be in the same predicament again in short order.