This might seem a harsh thing to do but I feel that it is a worthwhile endeavor. I'm not going to take the time to write down the names of all the churches during these twenty-three plus years where I came in contact with "Pass-Off" ministers or with secretaries who said without asking me anything that they refer people to the local rescue mission or shelter. The list would be pages long. It would be very easy for you to possibly add pages of churches also.
As I made mention earlier, I guess the main problem with modern day churches is that they have gotten too big and stopped being a caring and compassionate center in their community. Churches have become either religious entertainment centers or social centers instead of places of spiritual growth. To get to the point of becoming either religious entertainment centers or social clubs. Churches have left the center of their communities and have moved out to the outskirts or into the country. There is no effort to give back to the community where the church was founded in.
They (the ministers and the church body) seem to be just going through the motions. They (the ministers and the church body) know all the right words but these words haven't traveled the eighteen inches between the brain and the heart. There is no real showing of "A Love for Y'SHUA (the Messiah).
I'm a firm believer that "Actions Speak Louder Than Words". Benjamin Franklin said it quite clearly when he said " That in the Last Days we will be judged on not what we thought but on what we did ".
I am finding that more often the case is that the bigger the community is there is the less chance of finding a
compassionate "caring" church. Anytime the community population gets over 8,000 people, the chances to find a compassionate church gets slimmer and slimmer. This doesn't mean that compassionate churches are not in big metropolitan areas. Several years ago, I found one in Bozeman, Montana and this was the United Methodist Church in the downtown area. Also, I came across a very large Presbyterian Church in the Cleveland, Ohio area that was quite compassionate.
What I'd like to do here is to express some of the reasons (excuses) that I have come across from churches that do not have compassion as one of their central focuses.
1. We've never done it before - Fine. Now, is the time to start a new idea that could even make their church grow. In a recent report by Stadia (an ecumenical church planting organization), the United States has become the third largest country of the unchurched. There are about two hundred million people in the United States who are unchurched (there hasn't really been a breakdown on how many of these actually believe in GOD and CHRIST but do not attend church). On the average, three thousand five hundred churches in the United States are closing their doors. Less than half of these churches are being replaced by new ones. I have come across churches where there is space for at least two hundred people in the sanctuary but only five people attend.
2. Our insurance will not allow it - A simple rider policy doesn't cost that much. If they are so worried that maybe some of the people that they would help might steal from them, make efforts to have the compassion center be outside the church building either in an old house that the church might own or in a separate Christian Education building. It doesn't have to be much but maybe an unused Sunday school classroom and access to a restroom. Having the room and restroom be in a separate corridor with a locked door to the main part of the building would work. I came across this excuse multiple times during my most recent missionary bike trip (Mission Trip 69). It sort of makes me wonder whether the insurance company has become the head of the church instead of the LORD.
3. We don't have the right kind of facilities - This goes right along with the above excuse. Why do people think that needy people always need a shower and a bed? They really just want a place to rest. A carpeted floor in a classroom would do. Maybe, there might be a youth room that has sofas in it. Access to a simple bathroom would be enough. Showers are not necessary.
4. There is nobody to be around you in the evening - This again is a trust issue. I've had full access to churches and small during the night and I never had to be babysat. Several years ago, I stayed at a Presbyterian Church in Wetumka, Alabama for three days and I never once was checked upon by either the minister or one of the deacons or elders.
5. We give money to other agencies (ministerial alliances or social service programs). - That is fine and dandy but this doesn't negate the commands of the Messiah that says that you should personally help out those in need (James 2:14-26 and Matthew 25:31-46). Getting help from these other agencies or programs can be really tough. Most often, you have to go to either the police station or sheriff's office submit your identification card and then go through a background check to make sure that you are not a criminal. Then you have to fill out forms and then hope that the person who is in charge of providing the help is available.
6. We've never left anybody stay at the church at night - Hard to believe if the church has ever hosted a mission team or allowed their church youth have lock-ins.
7. Our elders or deacons wouldn't allow it. - Who is really the head of the church? I hope and pray that most churches say that it is the Messiah. I'm sorry to say that I have met pastors of churches who say that they are just an employee of the church. I thought that they were the leaders and shepherds of their individual church flocks.
8. We just don't have the time. - Might need some effort to prioritize.
This list could go on and on but I guess you can get the idea. The question now is whether your church uses some of these excuses in not wanting to help the needy. Would your church be placed in the "Hall of Fame" or the "Hall of Shame" if there were one?