Life-Changing Benevolence

Traditional Benevolence: the church is a collection point for charitable items such as food, clothing, household items, and money to help with other items such as rent and medical expenses. Church members should be encouraged to be generous with their gifts and not just give their leftovers or items they want to discard. I encourage churches to have a regular collection time; this can be monthly, every Communion Sunday, every 5th Sunday, etc. – just pick and stick with something.

I feel there is a much better and more biblically based form of benevolence but it is much harder and far less common in churches. I encourage you to seriously consider this form and decide if your church is doing benevolence to make its members feel good or to have a serious impact on the lives of others. This direction is much harder and requires the church to being a lot more intentional about what it wants to accomplish.

Benevolence That Changes Lives: The church should not be a distribution point for benevolence. Instead, churches should partner with local non-profits who are doing this type of work with excellence (key word).

  • The church can approach these local orgs and offer supplies (food, clothing, etc.), money (for benevolence and even for operations), and volunteers (church members who want to help others). Every non-profit you approach will jump at the chance to get more of these resources.
  • An understanding can be reached between the church and the org regarding overt/covert evangelism (you’re not asking my opinion but I suggest that church volunteers ONLY raise that subject if they are asked why they are doing that – the door is then open for a positive reply without shoving Jesus down someone’s throat).
  • This method allows recipients to go to places in an area of town they are more comfortable with than having to walk into a church (which is intimidating to non-church folk). This makes church members get out of their comfort zone (their church) and into the area of town where they aren’t comfortable but where the hurting and needy are located – church members need to suck it up and get over their fears. After all, Jesus went out to the highways and byways and didn’t wait for people to come to him (though many did).
  • This method allows a church to partner with an org that is far more skilled at distributing resources and determining who are the scammers and who are the truly needy. The partner org most likely has a database where they keep track of who has been helped, for what purpose, and how often.
  • This allows the church admin assistants (the first point of contact for many recipients) to focus on their work instead of answering the phones. And frankly, some of the needy can be scary (though almost never dangerous) and that can affect the work product of the church’s admin(s).
  • If more and more churches would partner with local orgs, the chronic needy would know where to turn for regular help (instead of going from church to church) and those orgs might be able to offer additional services such as job training and placement (to address long-term needs, not weekly needs).

I will say up front that moving your benevolence offsite gives less “glory” to your church and your members might complain about that. However, this is not about meeting the church’s needs but about helping others. God gets the glory (period). It’s not about us – it’s about us being servants to help others.


Lead On!



  1. Discount True Religion

    I enjoy the efforts you have put in this, thanks for all the great posts.