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CHURCHES HELPING CHURCHES

Churches Helping Churches

   “God helps those who help themselves!”  Unfortunately, many people quote that as if it is a verse in the Bible.  The truth is; it is not!  The bigger problem is that many think even if it is not a direct Bible quote it certainly sums up what the Bible teaches.  Once again; it is not truth!  Actually, Jesus says, “Without me ye can do nothing!”  In fact, the truth is that God helps those who cannot help themselves.  He saves those who cannot save themselves.  He sustains those who cannot sustain themselves.  He secures those who cannot secure themselves.   

     God does not need us but we desperately need Him!  We take far too much credit, sometimes, for our accomplishments when the truth is that it is the work of God in our lives. Jer. 9:23-24 says “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”

     We have also heard, “hurting people hurt people!”  That is often very true, but what I am wondering is why do helped people and helped churches not help others more?  We all need help and we all should have a burden to help others.  Is your church helping another church?  What is your church doing to be a blessing and an encouragement to another congregation?  Have you thought of things you could do and ways you could help a congregation that could definitely use a helping hand?  Let me go ahead and say it now, “Healthy churches help other churches!”

     While there are many ways to be an encouragement to another church such as prayer, advice, resources, and fellowship here are some practical ways you can be a blessing to another congregation and/or a church plant:

     First, mentor them!  Allow your staff and volunteers to spend time with the other church’s leadership in order to share ideas and brainstorm.  It is always good to have a fresh set of eyes to look at your situation and invariably they will see things you do not see.  Everybody and every church have blind spots and it is healthy to cross-pollinate with others who are striving for the same goals.  There are blind spots we cannot see but others can and we should always be willing to learn from others.  Remember, a mentor is someone who has been where you want to go and is willing to help you get there.

     Second, spend time with them!  It doesn’t have to be through a training or consultation that you spend time together but also just enjoying each other’s company.  Here are some ideas: A joint baptism service or prayer service, plan a praise and worship service together, a service project in the other church’s community, a family camp or retreat together.  You could even both travel together to go help a non-profit ministry such as a rescue mission, a food pantry, or a pregnancy crisis center.  Dream and envision ways you could spend time together and be a blessing to each other and to others also.

     Third, share your resources with them.  There are all types of resources but quite often expertise is not thought of as much as finances.  Some churches could use a web-site person, talented musicians, equipped teachers, and many other skilled people.  Take the initiative to find out what the other church needs and then connect them with someone in your church who can meet that need.  Phil. 4:15-16 says, “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.”

     Fourth, take a short-term mission trip to help them on a particular project!  Take a group over the weekend or for a week and tackle a project that maybe they could not accomplish on their own.  Provide the person-power needed that they do not have presently.  Our church just returned from Nixa, MO, helping church planter John Herring.  We helped clean-up after a city event hosted by the chamber of commerce.  We were excited to hear how thankful the city officials were for a church that was willing to truly be servant minded.  It was a huge win for Refuge church.

     Healthy churches help other churches!   

Blessing Others

Lately, whenever I go into a gas station someone is always asking for some help because they are out of money and stranded. I have been approached more lately than I can ever recall and it does not matter if I am travelling in state, out of state, or close to home. I am always confused on who to help and who not to help. There have been times I have helped and other times I have refused and when I have helped it felt good but I must admit when I didn’t help I felt terrible. It makes we wonder if sometimes I use stewardship of my money as an excuse to be stingy more than a reason to be wise.

Allow me to relate one recent encounter I had and I must admit that I really didn’t want to be bothered. I noticed someone approaching the gas pump I was using. Aggravation began to swell up inside me and I was about to tell them, “Hey, get a job like the rest of us!” When I turned around to set them straight it was a young lady about 21 years of age balancing a baby on each hip. I looked at her and sternly said, “Pull your car up over there and I will put some gas in it for you!” She told me she wanted to pay me back but I told her it was a gift not a loan. When she asked me why I just told her I wanted to display the love of Christ to her in a practical way.

Recently, my wife and I were discussing our S.O.A.P. (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) devotions in Proverbs 3. We were comparing which verses we had chosen to journal on. It is actually a lot of fun to see which verse we choose and we hardly ever choose the same verse. She had chosen Proverbs 3:27 which says, “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” Wow, that really got me and I begin to study more what God said about being generous to those less fortunate. Honestly, I am a pro when it comes to thinking of reasons why I should not help those in need.

The principle here is clear; we have been blessed so that we can bless others. It is not ours but belongs to the Lord. It is a question of stewardship. When God leads us to help someone and we do not help them then we have betrayed His trust in us. Still need some convincing? Still struggling a little with this one? Jesus exhorts us Matthew 5 to go the extra mile and in verse 42 He says, “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.” The general rule that our king gives us is that it is better to give sometimes to an undeserving person, than to turn away one who really is in need.

Matthew 25:35-40 says, “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

We should make it a habit to be generous! I shared the story of the young lady needing gas at Jackson Missionary Baptist Church during a revival I recently had the privilege to preach there. On the last night of the meeting the pastor came to me with an envelope and told me that an anonymous person had given him this so I could help buy people’s gas who were in need. Later I opened it up and there was $300 all in twenties. Once again God had confirmed to me that it is better to give than receive. This evening I went to the gas station looking for someone I could bless but came up empty. Oh, well, I seem to be in gas stations a lot these days so there is always tomorrow!