How Churches Can Serve Communities This Holiday Season

By Christine Bove

Read Time: 4 Minutes

The holidays are a time of great joy and coming together with family. However, this time of year can also bring heartache and pain for some. There are many individuals and families in our communities struggling to pay their bills, put food on the table, or are dealing with health issues and recovery. 

Though these can be tough situations, there is hope! The Church can step in and help reprieve some of the pressure. While there should be discernment on how the Church helps people in need, it is a great opportunity to shower people with the love of Jesus.

If you want to serve “the least of these” during the holidays, here are 3 ways to give benevolence:

1. Create a benevolence program and establish policies. 

If you want to offer benevolence to your community, your church or ministry will need to have its own benevolence program.

Having a benevolence process in place is so important. You want to make sure your organization is on the same page internally and can stay compliant with the IRS regulations. One of the best ways to do this is to establish a benevolence policy.

Establishing a benevolence policy helps create structure and holds people accountable for what was given. Ideally, you’ll want to have your benevolence program in place before giving to the community. 

Establishing a benevolence program also allows your church or ministry to decide how you want to serve people. Are you looking to serve a more specific need, such as single mothers or children in foster care? By having a benevolence program created, you can give legs to helping solve issues God has placed a special burden on your heart. 

It’s helpful to have a focus because you aren’t able to serve everyone you come across. There are financial limitations to consider and limitations and qualifications the IRS places on benevolence donations.

The IRS is particular on who qualifies for benevolence assistance. According to Treasury Regulation 1.170A-4A(b)(2)(ii)(D), a person in true 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 will come into contact with that are in genuine need and need 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.

For the ones you can serve and have chosen to focus on how to serve those people, you will need to establish a program to document and administer the benevolence assistance.

Here are 4 steps to create your benevolence program:

  1. Establish your Benevolence committee. This particular 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. Determine 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 generous donations.
  4. Create a Benevolence application process and form. Anyone requesting benevolence from your church or ministry should be required to complete an application or request form. This form will help your benevolence committee identify and discern which benevolence requests to fulfill.

Interested in knowing more about how to create a benevolence program? Look to our Called to Care, a software designed to help you create and establish your benevolence program. Click the banner below for more information!


2. Partner with local food drives and shelters.

One way your church can be involved in benevolence is to 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. Local shelters may be in need of regular 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 can’t assist everyone, but you can help support an organization that can help more than you can.

3. Create Christmas initiatives for local families.

The sky's the limit of types of Christmas initiatives your church or ministry can participate in. Create initiatives that align with your mission, vision, and your benevolence program. What specific burdens has God placed on your heart to serve for this season?

Here are a couple of ideas:

    • Support Operation Christmas Child and host a boxing party. Families can bring supplies and build boxes together. For continued social distancing, host smaller pods of people to package the boxes together.
    • 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 be able to still purchase toys and gifts for their families, just at a more affordable price point for them.
    • 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.

Empower your community

There are many ways to show the love of Jesus Christ this holiday season. Let your creativity soar in how you can be involved in serving your community.

“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

As you dream and ideate, let God speak to you on how you can be involved in giving benevolence. Create a compliant program and process so that you can make the most out of what God has called you to create and give. And regardless of the bank account, God will use everyone willing to serve Him and those who are the least of these.

If you need help on taking your next steps, please give us a call at 877-494-4655 or click the banner below to schedule a call with a specialist!


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