During times of struggle, celebration and sadness, Faith Church members and attenders are often found behind-the-scenes, pulling resources together to help one-another out during times of need. While this has always characterized Faith Church, the newly-formed, deacon-led benevolence ministry helps formalize and streamline the process by providing access to material and spiritual resources during a time of need or crisis.
Pastor Steve explains how care for one another is a central mark of God’s people.
“God has always encouraged generosity in his people for those who find themselves in need,” Pastor Steve said. “From the Old Testament laws setting aside part of the harvest for the poor, to the New Testament church sharing with all those who had needs. This value has carried forward throughout church history in many ways, including taking up collections in conjunction with the celebration of communion.”
It is this latter practice that has shaped Faith Church’s own recent initiative that allows others to contribute to the Benevolence Fund at the end of each communion service.
A new benevolence ministry was formed last fall, consisting of three deacons to administer the Benevolence Fund to help meet congregational needs in a time of physical or economic crisis. This team is committed to prayer throughout the process and is available to recommend a resource, program or counseling in the case of a non-financial crisis. Additionally, about half of the fund is donated to community partners, consisting of local organizations that specialize in assisting others in specific areas during a time of crisis. Faith Church’s primary partner is Rochester Area Neighborhood House (RANH), which offers food, clothing, finances, counseling services, transportation and referrals for other services.
Jim Pass currently heads up the benevolence team. “Being able to serve in this area has truly been a heart-warming experience,” Jim said. “I am impressed with the giving within our church to the benevolence fund offering, and the good that has been done with these funds. Not only have we been able to help others within our church walls, but we have also been able to support to our local partner organizations dedicated to providing the necessary resources to our community.”
Giving to the Benevolence Fund has more than doubled last year’s total giving through the first six months of our current fiscal year since the implementation of the monthly benevolence offerings.
“Praise God for the generosity of his people!” exclaimed Pastor Steve. “I’m so encouraged to see people step up and show compassion in this way.
“On a personal level, we have been able to make contacts with our church members to let them know of our presence and willingness to help if there is a time of need,” Jim said. “We have also been able to direct others to support agencies that have responded beyond our expectations.”