One of the things that I have been hearing from deacons and pastors is a need for some guidance in doing benevolence work. I heard questions such as, “How do we deal with those who simply come to our church during the week and ask for help? Should we help everyone just because they say they need money for rent, food, bus fare, etc.? Since we can’t help everyone, how do we decide who to help?” We want and intend to help, but sometimes we wonder if we really are helping. There’s even a book by with the title, When Helping Hurts (a worthwhile read for all who really want to help and not hurt the poor).
With this in mind, I began looking for resources and examples that might be helpful. One of the resources I discovered was a handbook or guide used by the Denver based organization, Volunteers in Action. It seemed to me to provide both answers to many of the questions and concerns I have heard along with some very practical step-by-step suggestions for things such as developing–or perhaps revising–and implementing a benevolence policy for staff, deacons, and anyone else doing benevolence related work in a congregation.
You can access this resource now by clicking on Tools for Benevolence Handbook. Please note that I have changed contact information from Volunteers in Action to Holland Deacons’ Conference for churches and ministries in Classis Holland of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. I have also highlighted what I considered key words and phrases throughout the document.
Please let me know if you choose to use or share this tool.
Grace & Peace,