Why don’t churches do more?
People often wonder why don’t churches do more? I’ll admit they absolutely can and should do more. But not in accordance to what the world or unbelievers think they should do and definitely not what the lukewarm believer thinks they should do or not do. Some churches don’t do more because they are apathetic and lazy. Some churches can’t do more because they have not the volunteers nor the funding to do anything except survive. That being said many people often wonder why your average rural church down the street won’t do things such as letting homeless people stay overnight in their buildings, pay everyone’s electric bill that needs it, and offer after school programs for kids? It all boils down to four things.
We live in a time when church attendance has declined drastically and so has giving. People don’t consider worshipping the Lord a priority anymore, nor do they consider giving unto the Lord. Without tithes and offerings churches can’t keep their own utilities paid let alone doing things to minister to those in need. It takes funds and not every church is made of money. What is a church to do when some people even within their own congregations feel like it’s not their duty to help keep the church’s water flowing, the lights on, discipling, and yes, even helping the community? People will condemn a church for not doing more but at the same time condemn a preacher if he happens to preach on giving or worse yet “tithing”. When Christians refuse the biblical call to gather and to give, then lots of things will go undone and if left unchecked, your average small church down the street will eventually close its doors. Everyone complains about the churches not doing more but when a church has to close its doors they never once think maybe I should have went and helped keep the doors open so we all could have helped spread the Gospel and help those in need. But to many churches and those on the outside looking in, the Gospel is not even a concern.
It’s well proven that in the average church, the work that needs to be done,is done by about 20% of the people. Not only does giving drop when attendance declines, but also the number of volunteers diminishes. So in a church of around 100 members you may only have around 20 members who volunteer. In a church that has around 50 members you would have around 10 who volunteer. In a church that has only 20 members and who are already struggling to even keep the water and electric on, you may have about an average of 4 who actually do the work and heavy lifting. So as attendance declines, volunteers decline, and giving declines. It also must be mentioned that in many small churches (100 or less) a good portion of its body could possibly be made up of the elderly who are on fixed incomes and who have limitations health wise on what they can and can’t do. These are some things people don’t consider when they wonder why the church doesn’t do more. But let’s just say by chance you had a bunch of people volunteer to help with an after school program. Do you just let everyone who says they want to work with kids, work with kids? That’s a definite no. Which leads to the next point.
Just as Pastors, Deacons, and elders should be qualified to lead, volunteers should be well vetted and qualified as well, if they are going to do anything around children. Not only is this common sense but also most insurance companies require it. If you are wanting the church to do after school programs for kids then for liability purposes you would need to have background checks on file not only to protect the children but also to protect the church. Just because someone says they want to volunteer doesn’t mean they have the character, maturity, or experience to be trusted to volunteer. With a shortage of volunteers a church would definitely not want to just accept help from anyone who walks in off the streets and says they are willing to help. You don’t want a convicted sex offender around children nor would you want to put someone in charge of caring for children with a drug or alcohol problem. You wouldn’t want the pastor preaching while drunk or high and you sure wouldn’t want those watching children to do the same. When talking about housing the homeless in churches overnight, people don’t think of these things when suggesting it:
A. Does the church have the funds to feed and house them nightly?
B. Does the church have the volunteers?
C. Do you think you could find someone to stay over night and monitor the building and the occupants for free?
D. What about the liability?
E. What if someone gets injured or worse, dies while at the church?
F. Will the cost of the Church’s Insurance premiums go up to cover the liability? The answer is yes.
G. Will those who suggest the church house the homeless be willing to help cover the cost of the liability? No.
Most people have no idea what it takes to keep a church going and what it takes to even do community outreach but many also have false expectations of the church. Not only false expectations but they expect no accountability.
It is no secret that there are people that make the rounds at various churches in a community in attempts to take advantage of a church. People don’t realize how common and widespread this is. I had a woman one time at a church I pastored who on 3 different times, had the exact some story about someone getting out of the hospital, whose car needed fixed and who needed money for prescription meds. When I told her this was the third time she had used this excuse she got mad, denied it, and drove off. There are people out there who will take advantage of a church’s kindness and who have absolutely no intention of helping themselves. These same people see the church like a government program with an endless amount of funds at their disposal that they can hand out without any type of accountability on their part. Are all people like this? No. Should we help the poor and needy? Absolutely! It’s biblical and God commands us to do so and it should be done with wisdom. If a church does not hold people accountable and are poor stewards with the donations they have received they will eventually have no funds to help those who are truly in need. Even in scripture God laid out guidelines on how we should care for the widows, orphans, and the poor. It wasn’t a free for all without accountability. Not only did Jesus not heal everybody, He didn’t feed everybody either. Though he had compassion on them He knew their greatest need was a spiritual need. When He did heal and feed the hungry it was in accordance to His will. Again, should we help the poor and those in need? Absolutely! But with wisdom and discernment.
Accountability and responsibility should also be considered with after school programs. You’ve heard the frustrations from school teachers who lament the fact that they try to pour into their students only to send some of them home to a chaotic household whose parents have checked out and do nothing to mentor and nurture their own children. Pastors, Youth Pastors, and Sunday School teachers encounter the same thing. You can preach and teach to the youth on Sunday but if the parents live like atheist, at home it counteracts everything they just heard and learned at church. At what point do we start holding parents accountable? Many parents have no desire to teach their kids anything. Just being present is considered an inconvenience to many parents. If we have a society of children raised by the government and churches, what is the responsibility of the parents? In enabling this type of society we would see the same problem the church’s face. Where we have 20% of the population raising everybody else’s kids. When in reality schools and churches exist to help parents not replace parents. Parents have a responsibility to disciple, nurture and raise their own kids. Failure to do so is to neglect the emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of a child. Should churches help the youth of a community? Absolutely! Should churches help parents with the discipling of their children? Absolutely! But they shouldn’t replace the parents.
So if you truly want to help churches help the hurting and the needy what can you do? What should you do? It’s simple.
Go to Church, tithe, and volunteer.
Show up, give, and do something.