Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holiday help

Trying to think out all the things (collections) we've got going right now:
  • A group is making a Thanksgiving meal for an area family.
  • We are collecting Christmas gift cards for needy families for Tri-County Ministries.
  • We are taking cash donations to purchase Christmas gifts for residents of the Wells County Home.
  • We are collecting coats, hats, blankets, toiletries, etc. for the homeless of Fort Wayne (for a December distribution).
  • We are collecting food for the Fort Wayne food bank (ongoing).
  • We are collecting Bibles and teaching materials for Christian Literature For Africa (ongoing).
  • We have a trip planned to Ten Thousand Villages for a private party and to purchase gifts that will make a difference.
  • A women's group is collecting things for something (I can't remember).
  • A Sunday School class is talking of starting something else.
There could be other things that I'm not thinking of at the moment, and this doesn't include the missionaries, organizations, church plants, and camps that we support on a monthly basis. My point in writing this out is... I am always torn as to the best way to go about these sorts of things. On the one hand, it's good that for a small church we seem to be doing a lot of "things." On the other hand, would we be able to do more good if we didn't spread ourselves out so much and concentrated our efforts on fewer things? Sort of a 'more good for fewer people' vs. 'less good for more people.' I don't know.

I also struggle with deciding whether it's better to do things on a continuing basis, or to have "drives" so-to-speak. For instance, when we take collections for the homeless, we usually collect quite a bit of stuff, because we spread it out and when we do take a collection, people are thinking about it. But when we collect things all-the-time, such as with the food bank, we don't seem to get as much. I wonder if it's because it's just "always there" and people aren't as aware of it.

Another thing I have always tried to be concerned about - and people have criticized me for it - is I try to not ask people to give too much. I don't want someone asking for handouts every time people come to our worship gatherings. Because it can become too easy to lose focus on what we are really doing. Not that we shouldn't be doing things for others, but if people start to feel like it's being crammed down their throat, they might start to shy away altogether. There seems to be a fine line in there. But people are sometimes critical of me and say I don't have enough faith. Well, I think I have plenty of faith in God. I'm not so sure about my faith in people though. We are strange creatures and people have left church for lesser reasons. So... I don't know.

I don't know.

1 comment:

MR said...

I think you're right about asking for too much. Giving needs to remain mutually beneficial. Although we act like it's complete selflessness to do so--a lot of people are giving so that they can feel good about themselves. If you force it on them, that takes away their benefit. But it does make the person who forced it on them feel like they contributed.