Today we consider how we can grow our churches qualitatively through Supporting the Needy. The Christians church is a community of believers united by the blood of Jesus. The New Testament uses the word “fellowship/partnership” (koinonia in Greek) to describe the kind of relationship believers have. Fellowship can be through sharing food with those who haven’t, being charitable to needy people, and praying for and with them. Christians are defined by the depth of their koinonia as a result of the work effected by the blood of Jesus.
Food is an essential part of daily existence. There are some people within our congregations and communities who struggle to have something to eat day to day. We need to show love and care for them through supporting them with food. This would be a sign and expression of God’s love for the world through us. However, this comes with temptations. The Bible says “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others” (Matthew 6:2, ESV). This means giving should be done out of motivation for the wellbeing of the other, not because you want people to praise or know that you are the one who gives. As Paul says, we should do everything as if we are doing it to God, not to people (Colossians 3:23).
Sometimes the needy do not necessarily need food or clothes. Sometimes they just need others to help them with their works. This might be visiting them in their homes and helping them with domestic chores. Others may choose to help them though farming their lands and buying for them agricultural implements like fertilizer and others tools. The Bible says, “In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. She was always doing good works and acts of charity” (Acts 36:6). Charity work is done with no expectation for reciprocity. As Christians we need to show our faith in Christ by loving others and performing charity works to them. James is also emphasizing that that pure and undefiled religion before God “is to visit orphans and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27). We need to have time for the needy and help them with their work in any ways we that can.
Finally, the bond of all our efforts and wishes for the needy is and should be prayer. It is to God that we must direct our will and ask for added strength and overflowing love for his work and people. Praying for people is a sure sign that we always remember them in all that we do. This can be done in our gatherings as a church, as well as individually at our homes. We should always pray for the wellbeing of the needy in or congregations and communities.
Church growth is not only about quantity, but quality. As leaders, our responsibility is to nurture this kind of growth in the people we lead so that they can take on the character of Jesus. Our churches should be full of people continually growing in the likeness of King Jesus. Sharing our food, being charitable and praying for the needy is what we can train disciples to do.