I’m a real guy. If you’re reading this, you’re probably “real people”. Most of us are not millionaires. We don’t have money growing on trees.
If you notice, it looks like it can require a very large stream of personal income to become what we describe as a benefactor.
But this article is meant to show how any one of us can become benefactors (How many times can I say “benefactor” in one article?).
If you’re part of the majority in the nation, you are in the middle class. And that must not stop you from serving your community and your church in generous ways.
Here is a list of ways you can still participate in benefiting the people around you:
This is far and away the most important one. And it is far and away the one that us Americans understand the least.
Most of us view our homes as our sanctuary. When we get home after a long day at work, we crack open a cold one and watch the game. We rest.
But the early church used their homes as a base for missions! They met in homes for their meetings. They preached the gospel at community events, which were held in their homes. They brought in strangers in need of a place to stay.
I lay this new idea of hospitality out more completely in another article, but here are a few ideas what we can do today as middle-class American Christians who want to take care of our community through hospitality:
- Host church meetings in our homes (See the article “How to Plant a Church” for more information)
- Have community meals in our homes. Maybe invite the neighborhood over, people you don’t know. Maybe invite homeless people or other strangers.
- Let travelling Paul-like ministers stay at our homes when they’re in town.
- Use our homes to bring in multi-ethnic people groups in your neighborhood for cultural celebrations.
- All this being said, we should also use our homes for rest, but not as abundantly as we do today. Maybe your family designates a Sabbath once a week where you do actually rest and have no one over. Maybe you make your bedroom the one place that no one can enter and that you can actually get rest in.
Initiatives such as these include things like helping the homeless, single-parents, underprivileged youth, unplanned pregnancies, neighborhood development, etc.
Take advantage of the fact that others are willing to plan it, if you are willing to simply participate. Let these events be ways that you love your neighbors.
These are your neighborhood watches, homeowners’ associations, and neighborhood advocacy groups.
Now, let me be clear, many times, these committees are used to set up unnecessary rules which make things harder for people in a lower socio-economic class to participate in the community. Those rules, which come from self-righteous, self-interested people, are definitely a negative.
But here are some positives, some ways which can truly help you to benefit your neighborhood:
- At homeowners’ associations, you can fight against the negative regulations which keep people out.
- At the neighborhood watch, you can help protect your neighbors from crime.
- With advocacy groups, you can fight for the minorities in your neighborhood (whether you are a minority or not) and help them in ways you could not do alone.
When we say “bi-vocational minister”, that’s usually what we mean – a pastor. But we must be more open-minded than that. Bi-vocational just means that you work a job outside the church, as well as work inside the church.
Become an elder, a deacon, a small group leader, a church host (if you meet in homes), a teacher, an organizer, a leader in community outreach or anything else which will edify the body.
It would be great if you could bring in some income from the church for your work, since “the worker is worth his wages“, but be willing to volunteer your time for the good of those under your care.
If you are middle class, then you are richer than most of the world. You can find all sorts of statistics online about how if you make $30,000/year, then you are in the top 94% or something like that.
And yeah, I get it, most of us are working on cleaning up our debt, building a savings account and a retirement account. Tuition for our children is expensive, too. We gotta be wise, right?
But we still have more than we need. Maybe we have to adjust our standard of living a little, but we in middle-class America should be willing to admit that we have more than we need.We give because we trust #God. Click To Tweet
I’ve heard countless stories about how people decided to start being more generous than they could afford, and miraculously, all their bills were able to be paid, and they became more rich than before they started giving. Here‘s one example of a story like that.
But we don’t give because we want something for ourselves. We give because we trust God, and understand that He always provides for us.
So give cheerfully, even if it’s a small amount. Give to the church, give towards those who are laboring to expand the church, and give to those in the community who have an urgent need.