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Church & Individual Giving: Home or Away?

by Mark E Crossley  
5/20/2007 / World Affairs

What difference does money raised by churches in the UK make to overseas projects?

Actually, very little.

There is no doubt in my mind that until our home countries are in a better state, we should not make any further donations abroad. Doing so would be a waste of people's hard earned money.

Those in leadership positions within the church should voice their opinions and put a stop to money being donated abroad. Why not look for more worthy causes on their doorstep to support, like homelessness, drug abuse, prostitution, anti-social behaviour or providing quality youth facilities?

The question is, why give to people thousands of miles away when we could donate to and get to know the needy under our noses? We should leave the bulk of the giving to world governments who have far more power and influence than the individual or the single charity.

There's no point contributing to appeals made in church services, or TV fundraisers for Live 8 and the Tsunami. Donating to single events will never erode the suffering abroad but could surely make more of a difference at home. There are enough people within the United Nations and the European Union who can provide finance and resources to assist and rebuild impoverished nations.

Should we be selfish or selfless in these circumstances?

I'm not saying we should not feel sorry for those abroad, but we should approach charity from the right perspective and pray that God will assist the destitute so no one is missing out and suffers as a consequence.

So how much money does your church give to UK or overseas projects?

It depends on the size and generosity of its congregation.

I feel, as a guideline, the senior minister should think about giving 10% to local, UK-based charities - more if you can afford it. This means none to overseas projects and, as a church, we should not be afraid to stand by this ruling.

Churches and charities should join together under one 'umbrella' charity in the UK (with proper governance) and put all money into one pot. The organisation should give to one charity a year which would see an enormous benefit, instead of small donations to lots of charities, not really benefiting many.

There are genuine and cheerful givers out there. Why not give them the opportunity to really make a difference in this way?

Who gains the most in giving to the unknown though? The giver? The receiver? Both? Isn't the giver unnecessarily glorified because they can add to their personal satisfaction CV? How much self-congratulation is earned from those who persuade X number of people to give X amount to their particular cause?

Charity should begin at home, where we can clearly see the benefits of our giving. Aren't the donations going to increase when we see our streets cleaned up and our young people given somewhere to go at nights?

If you have any comments, queries or suggestions regarding this article please do not hesitate to contact me by email at Thank You.

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