Our Goal of Benevolence at Oakland Baptist Church:
We are seeking to minister to the primary needs of individuals. While we all need food, shelter, and clothing, these needs pale in comparison to our primary need for salvation (Matthew 16:24-26). While the lack of physical comforts are most keenly felt, our greatest need is a close relationship with Jesus Christ. Once that is accomplished, Christ will meet our other needs (Matthew 6:31-33).
We allow Christ to meet our needs when we live according to His standards by faith in His ability. There are three main reasons why we suffer need. The most prominent of these is that we seek our own desires rather than God’s desires (James 4:2-3). Therefore we receive from life according to what we put into it (Galatians 6:7-8). If we focus on our desires we will receive destruction. If we focus on Christ, we will receive His blessings (Psalms 37:4). The second reason we suffer need is because life is unpredictable and bad things happen to everyone (Matt. 5:45). In these unfortunate occasions, people may find themselves in difficult situations due to no fault of their own. The third reason people suffer is because God is seeking to do something in their life (James 1:2-4; I Pet. 4:12). Regardless of the reason for our difficulty, the answer is always the same. Focus, in faith, on God. Our life on Earth is short and often painful (James 4:13-17), but our goal and glory is not found in this Earth, but in the Kingdom of God which lasts forever.
Our benevolence policy is set up to give the candidate every opportunity to change their lifestyle to reflect a Kingdom Focus. We would do a great disservice in offering benevolence without offering Jesus and without helping people to change the life patterns that may have caused the need for benevolence in the first place.
In order to be good stewards over the resources God has granted us, we developed a process that does two things. First, it discourages those who would abuse our compassion (II Thess. 3:10) and secondly, it makes funds readily available to those who are in true need. And most importantly, all benevolence points the candidate to Christ. Our benevolence is set up as an outreach ministry for our church. Therefore, our members look for the opportunity to help people in need (both spiritually and physically). Since 2011, we expended over $35,000.00 through our benevolence ministry and seen lives changed. If a member of our church requests benevolence for someone, that request is put on a fast track and benevolence requests can be immediately met. For those who “walk-in” requesting benevolence, there is a process they must fulfill (listed below). It is unfortunate that this process is necessary, but we must have a mechanism to recognize those who would abuse our help so that we may better provide for those who would truly benefit from our help. This may seem cruel, but we have found that giving financial assistance to those who do not change their lifestyle is not really helping. It results in two things: a delay in the inevitable and a re-enforcing of bad conduct.
Requirements for Benevolence Aid:
The candidate must attend three Sunday morning Services before they are eligible for benevolence.
During First Visit, the benevolence candidate will be given a Benevolence Packet to be filled out and turned in by the second visit.
During the Second Visit, the benevolence candidate will schedule a budget counseling session to be taken prior to receiving any benevolence (if approved for benevolence).
During the Third Visit, the benevolence committee will determine if the candidate is or is not approved for benevolence and if approved, the amount or type of benevolence and required follow-up (Budget Counseling, Reporting, Lifestyle Change).
It is better to live a long life in pain, suffering, and misery as a Christian with the hope of eternal life; than a long life of fame, fortune, and glory without Christ having no hope except the damnation of hell.