Act 2:45 says, “Selling possessions and goods, they gave to anyone who was in need.”
This snapshot of the early church celebrates the amazing generosity of a Spirit-filled faith community. The Covid-19 crisis demands a reawakened passion to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters whose lives and livelihoods have been turned upside down. Our generosity will serve as a testimony to a watching world.
As in the early church, renewal leaders are key to facilitating acts of generosity.
Here are 7 practices that ensure help flows to those in need:
Practice 1: IMMEDIATELY ACTIVATE A DEACONAL TEAM
Now is the time when deacons must be deacons. They should meet on-line at least two times a week to stay abreast of changing needs. Their gatherings should focus on updating, praying, responding, and imagining. The deacon team may need to expand to address the rising tide of need.
Practice 2: DEVELOP A SYSTEM OF CHECK-INS
A deacon’s list of regular check-ins is essential to stay proactive. The list should include persons who have lost their jobs, those who have childcare challenges, elderly who may have difficulty getting groceries, and persons who are battling the virus.
Practice 3: CREATE A LIST OF HELPERS
Congregations are filled with persons who want to be Christ’s hands and feet in a time of need. Gathering a list of volunteers provides an essential “go to” ministry team when specific needs surface. Identify persons willing to make phone calls, help with day-care, delivery of groceries, or providing transportation.
Practice 4: FILL-UP THE CHARITY FUND
This is a time when benevolence resources should be in the multiple thousands of dollars. One church is creating a “Thousand Blessings Campaign” encouraging those who do not need the $1,200 governmental assistance checks to donate them to the charity fund to be redistributed to those in greater need.
Practice 5: BE IN THE KNOW
There are many ways governmental and community agencies are attempting to help people in crisis. Deacons should investigate the multiplicity of resources available in their community so they can serve as a link between need and opportunity. Our best care may come through providing information.
Practice 6: MEET NEEDS WITHOUT WRITING CHECKS
There are many ways to meet needs without writing checks. It may be helpful to post an on-line list of people willing to help in meeting specific needs or a list folk willing to share items they possess (for example, a farmer willing to share several dozen eggs).
Practice 7: ALWAYS REMAIN SENSITIVE AND WISE
It’s important that assistance never makes the giver feel superior or the receiver inferior. This is especially true when people are caught in circumstances not of their making. This doesn’t suspend wisdom, of course, but wisdom should always be tempered with grace. A humble attitude should be nurtured by all.