Alex Strauch provides some practical guidance for becoming a church that truly cares for people (from the Summer 2007 edition of Emmaus Bible College’s Journey magazine):
- Organize a Benevolence Fund. Caring for the poor and needy cannot be done in a willy-nilly fashion… it’s amazing when we put our money together what we can do!
- Establish a Father Program. Many children in our churches today come without a father… over the years my four daughters would bring children, mainly girls, from school to the table to eat with us. For many of these girls it was the first time they were at a table with the father present.
- Provide language training for new immigrants. A number of our women had professional training and detrees in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language), and they said we should do this. We were wondering, “Where are these people going to come from? We haven’t seen any immigrants in the neighborhood.” Nevertheless, we put up a sign reading “English as a Second Language.” Within one day we filled the whole program.
- Provide hospitality to poor and needy members. People love it when they come to your table for a meal. And the Lord Jesus instructs His people to invite certain kinds of people for a meal: “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” (Luke 14:13).
- Provide the poor with cars, furniture, and household goods. How often we’re getting rid of a car, selling a car. Don’t sell it – give it to someone!
- Raise awareness of poverty both local and global. Even if your assembly is middle class or upper middle class, there are bound to be people who are suffering financially. But you must have your eyes open to see it.
- Acknowledge the reality of the AIDS epidemic. One of the greatest tragedies in world history is right here before us…
- Leaders must set a vision before the congregation. We need to set a vision before our people that pulls us out of our self-centeredness. Our people need to be stirred to a compassionate care for our congregation, and a compassionate awareness of a world situation that is almost unspeakable.