01 Dec 2020

3 Ways to Give Benevolence this Holiday Season

Christine Bové

The holiday season is a wonderful time of year. Beginning with Thanksgiving, we start the season off with gratitude and remembrance of what God has done for us. We then head into the Christmas season, celebrating our Lord Jesus Christ's birth, the greatest gift to all!

While we know this is a season of great joy and coming together with family, we also understand that it can be a time of heartache and pain. Many individuals and families are struggling to pay their bills, put food on the table, or dealing with health issues.

Through these tough times, the Church can step in and help relieve some of the pressures many are facing. While there should be discernment on how the Church helps people in need, now is a great time to shower people with the love of Jesus through practical action.

If you are interested in impacting those in need this holiday season, here are three ways to give benevolence.

1. Create a benevolence program and establish policies.

Your church or ministry can have its own benevolence program. It is important to have a benevolence process in place so that your organization is on the same page internally and can stay compliant. Establishing a benevolence policy helps create structure and holds people accountable for what was given. Ideally, you'll want to have set up your benevolence program in place before starting.

Establishing a benevolence program also allows your church or ministry to decide how you want to serve people. Are you looking to fill a more specific need, such as assisting single mothers or children in foster care? With a benevolence program, you can create a structure for helping solve issues God has placed on your heart.

It's helpful to have a focus because you aren't able to serve everyone you meet. There are financial limitations to consider, as well as restrictions and qualifications the IRS places on benevolence donations.

The IRS is very specific on who qualifies for benevolence assistance. According to Treasury Regulation 1.170A-4A(b)(2)(ii)(D), a person in genuine need is "a person who lacks the necessities of life, involving physical, mental, or emotional well-being, as a result of poverty or temporary distress."

There will be many people you come into contact with that are in true need and require assistance. To manage your God-given resources well, you will sometimes need to say "no." We dive into this topic a bit further in this blog here.

You will need to establish a program to document and administer the benevolence assistance to be compliant with the IRS for the ones you can serve.

Here are 4 steps to create your benevolence program:

  1. Establish your Benevolence committee.

    This committee is dedicated to creating the program, such as crafting the mission statement and creating the benevolence policy.
  2. Determine how your church will serve.

    Define the specific kinds of resources your benevolence program will offer, keeping your mission statement and program goals in mind.
  3. Establish and adopt a Benevolence policy.

    This policy provides guidance and structure for implementing your benevolence program. It also directs the giving of benevolent donations.
  4. Create a Benevolence application process and form.

    Anyone requesting benevolence from your church or ministry should complete an application or request form. This form will help your benevolence committee identify and discern which benevolence requests to fulfill.

Are you interested in knowing more about how to create a benevolence program? Look to Called to Care, a software designed to help you devise and establish your benevolence program. Click the link below for more information or give us a call at 877-494-4655 to learn more!

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2. Partner with local food drives and shelters.

Whether through your benevolence program or a collection of offerings, your church or ministry can partner and help support local centers for providing to those in need.

Local food banks are always looking for supplies, and families acutely feel the need for food during the holiday season. A lot of families and children rely on their schools to provide meals. With schools closed because of COVID, many families are going without regular meals. Local shelters may need everyday necessities, such as blankets, toiletries, and clothing.

Your church or ministry can help by partnering with these local shelters, taking stock of what is needed, and mobilizing your community to raise funds or gather the supplies to fill in the gap.

Partnering with other organizations is also a great way to invest back into the community and support other organizations in their specific mission. Again, you aren't able to assist everyone, but you can support another organization that can help more than you are able to.

3. Create Christmas initiatives for local families.

There are many Christmas initiatives your church or ministry can participate in during the holidays. In alignment with your benevolence program, create initiatives that align with your mission and vision. What specific burdens has God placed on your heart to assist this season?

Here are a few ideas:

    • Consider supporting Operation Christmas Child. Every year, Samaritan's Purse hosts an incredible project called Operation Christmas Child to provide gifts for children in need. Your community can come together to pack shoe boxes with supplies and presents from a list provided by the organization. For social-distancing, host smaller pods of people to package the boxes together, or you can even build a shoebox online!
    • Host a toy drive and then set up a pop-up shop for families who cannot afford regularly-priced toys to go and shop. The idea is to empower the families to still purchase toys and gifts for their families, just at a more affordable price point.
    • Host a clothing drive, pajama drive, or toy drive for children in foster care and orphanages. You can write encouraging notes with Scripture to go with the gifts.

Opportunities exist around every corner.

"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'"

- Matthew 25:40

The sky is the limit on how your church or ministry can serve your community this December. Though it might take more creativity because of social distancing, there are many ways to show the love of Jesus Christ to the "least of these."

Let God speak to you on how you can get involved in giving benevolence. Create a program and process so that you can make the most out of what God has called you to do. Remember: regardless of the state of your bank account, God will use everyone willing to serve Him and those who are the least of these.

If you need assistance creating a benevolence program, please give us a call at 877-494-4655! We would be honored to help you advance the Kingdom of God in your community.

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Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Blessings,
Raul Rivera


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