I'm really saddened that Christians want to attack Christians instead of helping them in their need for support so that the ministry work can be done. Feeding the poor and picking up congregants from the Projects in church vans isn't cheap nor is it free. A struggling ministry does not mean they are in sin. It is an opportunity for the Body of Christ to rise up and work together. It is an opportunity to lean further on God for provision. Where does God get that provision? He doesn't make money and drop it in your mailbox (though He *could* He does not). He requires, in His Word, to bring the first fruits (tithe) into the storehouse (Church). Who brings those first fruits? Us, His people. A ministry cannot function without it's people, plain and simple.
A couple things have happened recently in that regard that have blown me away (not in a good way). It's one thing for an unbeliever to question tithing and not do it. That commandment is for believers. It's quite another for people who are IN THE MINISTRY themselves, not congregants, to lay blame and condemn other ministries and have a self-righteous attitude because the struggling ministry asks for help. So all that is to say - I urge you to please make sure your pastor and your church are doing alright. Offer your time and if you can donate please do.
Our church is in the urban core (AKA the inner city, AKA the ghetto).
Urban churches do not function the same way as those in the suburbs. Suburban churches usually have several hundred congregants of middle to upper class. An urban church functions primarily to the poor and the homeless (and I'm speaking of congregants, not just ministry efforts as I do understand suburban churches do their part in that regard). We are by definition missionaries here in the inner city. Missionaries do ask for support and prayers; it's just what we do. We want to continue to serve the poor and underprivileged and all the children here in KC, MO. We cannot do it without the help of our supporters and for that we're so very grateful.
For the naysayers who assume we must be a terrible church or in sin because we haven't been able to meet budget, even with severe cuts - I am just very saddened by that. And angry. We budget the bare minimum in order to serve, not be served. Please feel free to come out to our ministry anytime and get your hands a little dirty, love on the children whose parents haven't fed or bathed them in a few days (and probably have no idea their child is even at our church for service!). Please come and fill up a bag with food that we buy, brand new rather than the expired junk from Harvesters, and carry it home for the lady with the walking cane. Please, please, please come to a Sunday service and feel the presence of God knock you on your butt. When my husband and the others go out into the streets with water bottles or snack bars to pray for perfect strangers and tell them how much God loves them as tears pour down their faces because they thought He had forgotten them... I hope you decide to come along and see miracles happen, because miracles DO happen. We've seen healing and salvation right here on our own streets! This isn't a weekly or monthly thing. These guys do this almost daily to the point drug dealers see them coming and flee (true story!).
I'm not trying to come off as a martyr (I'm really struggling with it feeling like it sounds that way) and I really don't want to toot our own horn. But we let people know what our ministry is doing because people do support us and want to know their support is being used righteously. We have a gutted downstairs bathroom in our church because we needed to move the toilet to our mission house for a family who just got evicted from their home in the Projects. This is a family we love dearly. They have nothing left and yet still manage to give what they can ( their time, their presence, their prayers).
*Our mission house is a building next door to the church that we rent to congregants (usually they just pay utilities as the building itself was paid off long ago and doesn't have a mortgage) or let missionaries stay at, instead of hotels, while they are back home in the States. Our mission house has needed a lot of work in repair this year. We have had laborers come out in the 105+ degree weather and re-tile the roof out of the goodness of their hearts. We have been blessed beyond measure but we're still struggling to get all the bills met in these tough economic times and with the majority of our congregants being Sudanese children or sweet elderly ladies from the inner city we just don't have much "first fruit" coming into the storehouse unless we ask other ministries.
Our church is a missions church. It isn't easy. But if not us, then who? Who will go? If we just gave up because we're a few thousand under budget what would happen to these children who are being initiated into gangs in elementary school do? What might have happened to the wonderful kids we've seen not drop out and then go onto the military or college if we hadn't answered the call? We ask for help because we aren't giving up. These people are worth it.
(And seriously, if you are in our area and want to join the guys when they Prayer Walk please let me know and I'll get you in touch with them!)