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by Leslie McLea in General Questions about October 3, 2016 open - report

Church Membership / isolated because not a member

Ok, I am puzzled. If you are not a member of a church, does that mean they can not or will not help you because you are not a member?

My delema; We have attened this chruch for a year come October 23, we began when I was let go of my job. My health issues have kept me from getting involved with things. But CHristmas last year, Asher and I helped to decorate the chruch for Christmas. We also went to a craft class and made snow men. From the day we started to go there, the man who is now pastor has said he woudl pray for us. He still says that today, and I am glad but there is no other help. Asher and I have been to his office three times, and he says I am sorry I can not help you with that. I had to ask him to visit Asher in the hospital, but it was idle chit chat. I asked him to pick me up from the ER one night, he paused, then said he would. He spent the time looking at his phone, never prayed with me or asked how he could help. He knows about my health, and I had to tell him a few weeks ago that I had to make a decision wether to go to sunday school or service. Since SS is more in depth, we chose this, and the Pastor leads this class. I was told by a member, there are perks to being a member. That the Pasor has been given $1,000 a month to use as he sees fit in helping others. ( Maybe I should not have known that). Ladies of the church a hand ful have my name, phone number, address, email address and phone number, a few friended me after I sent them a friend invite on FB. But no one asks how we are doing, why havent you been in church. We go to the food pantry each month, Asher has to go in now by himslef, I can no longer go up the stairs. A few ladies asked how I was last month, Asher told them, but still no one came a calling. I see favor over the others in the church who are members, and it disturbs me. If I do not become a member, you cant help me, but If I become a member, there are perks to you helping me , this just does not make any sence. God has not nudged us to become members for one thing. For two it is a long walk to the front of the church when you are in pain, then to stand there till all shake your hands, but no one has even asked, why have you not become members. No men of the chruch have invited Asher to the mens gathering, does this mean too, that if Asher is not a member he is not invited? This has bothered me for weeks now. The pastor is aware of all that we are going through, my health, no job, 0 income and did pray about that in Sunday School this week, but did not offer any help in anyway. I am distraught. I am not signing up for a credit card with its perks if you spend so much. This is not how Jesus would have or had done it. He reached out and helped those who needed help, weather he knew them one day or one hour. No membership required. 

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    by Sylvia Todd about October 4, 2016

    Leslie, we love you and are continuing to pray for you and Asher! I do agree with all that Dion said, and just have a couple of comments:


    First, don't necessarily believe something that a member in church tells you about how the church handles finances. Unless they are a fairly involved person, that might just be his or her impression and not a fact. Even if it is though, I would expect the pastor to pray over how to most wisely use that amount, and the answer simply can't be "yes" to everyone. If a church does not have enough for everyone (and no church does), there is no choice but to prioritize, outside of hearing from God for specific situations.


    Second, even Jesus requires "membership" to be in His body for the "perks" as you put it, not the least of which is eternal life. I'm not only talking about accepting Him as savior, though of course, that is the case, but that there are even conditions where you may lose this "membership" (see Dion's teaching about "Once Saved Always Saved". 


    I pray that the Lord guides you clearly and blesses you and Asher with the strength to carry it out <3!

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    by Dion Todd about October 3, 2016

    Hi Leslie. I know that you are having a rough time there. I will try and answer this as best that I can and I am sorry if I am too honest about it. I know that finiancial pressure is awful, we have been there.


    The thing is this, no church "owes" you anything, except maybe if you are a bank. What they decide to freely give you all hinges on the relationship that you have built with them. Whether it is right or wrong, that is kind of the way that the system works. At our church, they have a benevolence fund and will give those that walk in off the street in need, a one-time gift of $50.


    If you are a tithing member of the church, then they will help you a lot more, but still not without strings attached. If you repeatedly come back for help, then they will have you come to financial counseling and see if they can help you figure out the problem, because a Christian should not live in endless lack.


    The first thing that they will check is this: “Were you tithing before this happened? Were you a supporter of the church before you lost your job?”


    I heard a testimony recently from a man that worked a soup line after WWII. He was a chaplain and he asked each man that came in seeking food if they had tithed before they lost their job. Everyone of them said “No.” There was not a single tithing Christian in the food line.


    I am not saying that tithing is the answer for everything, for it cannot make up for out of control spending. What I am saying is that if the pastor of that church preaches on tithing and you ignore it, then don’t look to him for much financial help later. It is like someone warning of an approaching storm, and you choose to stand on the beach and let it hit you.


    At Refreshing Hope, we are a new ministry and just getting started, yet I can already see that there are far more needs out there than resources. We try to help those that we can, but the needs of the many out weigh the gifts of the few. So we end up working much the same way. We sometimes send out a book and a small financial gift to our members that are in need, even though they have not supported us. After a quick check, I see that we have sent you two. Those that have contributed to the ministry are at the top of this list. They are our supporters.


    To sum this up, you are going to get out of a relationship what you put into it. Give them a smile, you will probably get a smile. Give them your tithes, and they will care when you lose your job because they will notice that your tithes stopped. I hope that the Lord gets you out of this situation soon. The church is going to take care of its members first. If you refuse to commit to being a member, then you really have no ground to stand on to argue with them.


    Here is a deeper teaching on the subject:


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