One of the mistakes I made a long time ago as a pastor is thinking that doing kind works will actually help grow the church. I was sorely mistaken. A family member who was the pastors personal secretary in a neighboring town in a church of 500+ told me this “we have a policy…if we want someone to leave…buy them a car.” Allow me to explain.
You will always find a church where someone that attends will be down on their luck or honestly simply doesn’t want to work and views unemployment as God’s gift to them. The church leadership will begin to scheme and figure out ways to bless this person. Somehow they think if they can provide a car to this needy person that they will use it to find a job since they now have a set of wheels. In most cases it will not a be a new car but it will certainly be a new to them car.
I realize this is very transparent but the problem with handing someone a new car who does not have the means to keep it up is that it will never end. It could to lead to conversations of needing gas cards or shaking down mechanics to help maintain it. Oddly enough in ALMOST every case where I have been a part of something big like putting a new roof on someone’s home to saving a person from losing something to collections, it is just a matter of time until that person leaves the church.
Let me clarify that churches ought not do these handouts in hopes of having a "we did this for you and now you will stay at bring people" mentality. Why do I want to clarify that? Because it is not a healthy way to view people. Churches should never give hoping to get something in return. That is a sick mindset. We ought to serve out of the love of our heart.
It is good to help people out but if you are reading this and think surely this would never happen in a church…you haven’t been around long enough. This happens on larger levels as well but I will spare you the details. The best thing you can do for someone who is down and out is to help out in portions otherwise you will have a celebration moment. A video perhaps that you can show in church regarding what your church did but that will fizzle rapidly and again, said person will end up leaving the church.
In the words of the great James Hatfield “You know it’s sad but true”.