It happens every time there is a natural disaster. Churches begin discussions about how to help. Social media is full of questions – and suggestions – about how and where to donate. It happens because Christians care and want to help. We want to do good to all people, and especially those in our spiritual family. We want to love our neighbor. We are people of compassion and want to be people of action.
I recognize that help is – and should be – more than just donating money. If you can assist physically, or open your home as a place of shelter … by all means, do so. Pray fervently. Prayer is not something to do when you can do nothing else. It is the thing to do before and during everything else.
But if you are going to donate money, how should a Christian go about doing it? There are any number of relief organizations that will be heavily involved in helping people. Many of these are even faith-based organizations. But I would urge Christians to give through local churches or give to organizations that partner with local churches.
And here is why … because God should get the glory.
Churches will do relief in the name of Jesus, and God will be glorified. Other organizations do relief and people are helped. But they do in their name and they get the credit/glory.
Giving through local churches enables them to be a living witness for Jesus through the service and relief they do. People are helped in the name of Jesus and that opens doors of opportunity to share the good news of Jesus. When the world witnesses a church taking care of its members, it is attractive. It may cause people to want to be a part of that kind of community.
Certainly when outsiders are helped by a local church they will be more open to the message we bring.
So I appreciate any organization helping in areas devastated by a natural disaster. But I am going to help through the local body of believers. It is kingdom business and God will get the glory.
And that is who we are and why we are here.
Steve loves to tell the story of Jesus. He is the Director of Ministry for Hope for Life, a Herald of Truth Ministry, and serves as an elder at the Southern Hills church of Christ in Abilene, TX. He is a popular speaker for Lectureships, seminars, and retreats, and his latest book is “Can I Tell You a Story?” He and his wife Marsha have two children and five grandchildren.