As Americans Go Hungry, Where Is The Church?

The USDA has released a report showing that 49 million Americans are short on food.  17 million of these are children.  That is an increase from 11% of Americans in 2007 to nearly 15% in 2008.

It is great that the government wants to set up programs to help these people.  However, I wonder what responsibility the church bears in this area.  How many churches have ministries to help those in their own community who lack the basic necessities for life?  If my experience is the norm, there are not many.

The Church has the ability to assist the world with their greatest need – their sin, which separates them from God.  However, if we are unwilling to help with basic physical needs, why would non-Christians turn to us at any time?

Has the Church become so specialized that it only deals with the “spiritual” and not the physical?  It seems that ministering to the whole person – both the spiritual and the physical – is the biblical way.  I am not sure we are doing that very well.

What are your thoughts?

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3 Responses to As Americans Go Hungry, Where Is The Church?

  1. Amanda says:

    I think that the “Balance” can be very hard to maintain. My family has been both on the giving and receiving end of physical needs, and I have seen how the Body can truly bless itself, but at the same time I have seen how one need can trump the other (spiritual / physical), and it shouldn’t be that way. Like Jesus was full of both truth AND grace, we ought to commend those that are making efforts to keep to the truth with eyes and hearts open and willing to give – like the early church! 🙂

  2. Mike says:

    I think your experience IS the norm. You can take it a step further and ask how many of the churches that are NOT doing their “fair share” in their communities actively seek out good deeds to do in far away places.

    It’s easy to dismiss a thought like this saying that those far away have a need as well, but I look at it the same way the airlines look at survival. They instruct you to put on YOUR oxygen mask before you assist others. This includes your children. This isn’t saying your children are any less important than you are. You may even think they are MORE important.

    Don’t you think a church that took a VERY active role in their community would attract more followers? Make your own community healthy first and then you have the ability to do 10x as much good in neighboring communities.

  3. Tim Farley says:

    Thanks, Mike. I like your airline analogy and agree that the church could do so much more if we focused on our local community first.

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