For too long, many of us have expected government to take care of all the poor and disenfranchised. We are capable of much more in the way of practical aid to these people dear to the heart of God. For example, several years ago our fellowship in conjunction with a county mission refurbished 38 homes of the poor and handicapped in a program called, “Operation Love”. We donated time, labor and materials to significantly improve these dwellings. In addition, God has led us to give significant portions of our financial resources to aid the poor in the community and abroad. We are still novices in the ministry to the poor, but we are learning to obey God when he gives us direction in this ministry. John Wimber
Our Theme: ON COMPASSION.
In Matthew 25:40, Jesus, the King says clearly, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” In this crazy world we live in, both prosperity and poverty are growing rapidly across North America at the same time! As the old saying goes, the rich seem to be getting richer while the poor seem to be getting poorer. Some say the middle class is soon to become a vanishing species. All the while, most Americans believe that it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure no one falls between the cracks. Yet, if we look carefully at big government’s ability to care with great compassion for the individual in need, the track record is pretty scary.
And today, as our national debt in the USA grows by $2.37 billion each day, many wonder if the assistance so many need to survive can continue to be counted upon from Uncle Sam’s cash cow that seemed to run dry several decades ago.
Wimber was right when he suggested in 1985 that the church might do a much better job than the government at caring for the poor and needy, if we’d only get off our duffs and just do it. But the question remains today. Will we?
Let me share a few frightening statistics from an article about a book entitled Passing the Plate: Why Americans Don’t Give Away More Money.
“More than one out of four (over 25%) American Protestants give away no money at all—not even a token $5 per year.”
“Of all Christian groups, evangelical Protestants score best (when it comes to giving): only 10 percent give nothing away. Evangelicals tend to be the most generous, but they do not out-perform their peers enough to wear a badge of honor. Thirty-six percent report that they give away less than two percent of their income. Only about 27 percent tithe (10% of income).”
“American Christians’ lack of generosity might not be as shocking if it didn’t contrast so starkly with their astounding wealth. Committed American Christians—those who say their faith is very important to them and those who attend church at least twice a month—earn more than $2.5 trillion dollars every year. On their own, these Christians could be admitted to the G7, the group of the world’s seven largest economies! If these Christians gave away 10 percent of their after-tax earnings, they would add another $46 billion to ministry around the world.”
Just think of it. 46 billion added dollars to the ministry budgets of churches across America. Imagine how much good work could be done in the name of Jesus if those additional monies were available to assist the poor and needy in our communities? Forty-six billion dollars equally divided amongst the approximately 300,000 Protestant churches across America would add $153,000 to each church’s annual budget. And for over ninety percent of American churches, that number represents about a one hundred percent increase in annual giving!
But before you get too excited, let’s be gut honest here.
Sadly, if most of our churches were given an additional $153,000 to add to their annual budgets, the track record shows that most pastors and church boards would use up that money on what I referenced earlier: the 3-Bs. My guess is that a typical 3-B pastor would suggest to his or her board that the church spend their cash windfall by 1) improving their (B)uilding; 2) burning (B)ucks on more in-house pet projects; and/or 3) advertising to get more (B)utts in the seats on Sunday morning.
Call me cynical, but something tells me that most of us American pastors would place ministry to the poor way down on our to do lists when given $153,000 to spend. Gosh, I’d really like to be proven wrong here, folks, but unless God changes our attitudes toward defining “success” in our churches, we’ll keep on keepin’ on hoping the government will meet the needs of the poor while the rich get richer and the…well, you know how this saying goes.
Time for a change? I’m guessin’ the time has never been better, don’t you?
God, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how much work needs to be done in meeting the growing needs of the poor in our communities. Spirit, open our eyes to the work that awaits us, and empower us boldly to make the necessary changes in ministry so that your care for the needy is accomplished. For your name’s sake. Amen!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO PONDER
- What changes need to be made in both our giving attitudes and our church budgets so that we are adequately addressing the great needs of the poor in our communities?
- What outreaches to the poor can become ministries that multiple churches in our city can work on together?
Between Easter 2016 and the end of August, we are sharing with you a blog series we call The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It. In order to keep all 64 blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Wisdom of Wimber page for ease of use. Might we also suggest that you order a copy or two of our book by the same title! It’s available in both paperback and e-book formats…and will soon be available in Spanish! Click here for more info. ENJOY!
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!