Does the Church Get a Failing Grade at Caring for the Poor?
- Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My son tried to call all the Christian churches of Australia in supporting me, Natalie, whom i'm bedridden to come visit me in my time of illness such as reading inspirational scriptures to uplift my spirit.
Not one of them pastors/elders etc came to see me! Even though I prayed about it constantly. We have no family or friends and are very isolated; yes we have read the bible; having one in one with God but we still need christians on our side for support in a time of need!
Where has Christianity gone today when all Churches do is make money; open Cafés; book shops in their churches; lure people into buying their goods when in reality should be going out to all communities to reach out for the needy etc when they don't; are 2 busy with their own Church Conferences etc!!!
Dear Natalie and Peter,
Many letters like yours come to me. I grieve with you. I am sorry that you are struggling without help and support from the church. I will pray for you right now.
Now, in my opinion, in response to your letter, too often church people are seeking after the things of the world and have forgotten one of the basic reasons for their existence: caring for the poor. Materialism, selfishness, greed, and high taxes all impair the church's ability to help the poor as God intended.
Every church has a focus, whether or not it is aware of it. Many have more than one. No one church can do everything. However, it is essential that it cover the main bases. In my mind the most neglected and most often missed base is caring for the poor and down and out.
Throughout His ministry Jesus both told and showed us how Christians are to act and behave toward others. In other words many things are important; but some things are really essential and cannot be minimized or ignored.
I call it playing “church baseball." Our goal is to hit a home run.
In my opinion the church in general is not doing well with this priority. In the first century, Christians were known as the people who loved God and loved others. Surveys today reveal that 78% of Americans identify evangelical Christians as the most judgmental segment of American society.
SECOND BASE: He Told Us to Evangelize All Nations (Matthew 28:19–20).
God is on the move in massive parts of our world. American churches are doing their part in reaching the nations. Here at home many churches are reinventing themselves in an effort to be more culturally relevant in order to evangelize the lost more effectively and successfully. (Unfortunately, this comes with the cost of alienating many senior adults.
Nevertheless, it is critical that the church focus more on the young than on the old. After all, over 85% of all the people who will ever choose to follow Christ will make that decision before the age of twenty-five. After age sixty-five the decision to follow Jesus drops to one in sixty-seven thousand.
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