I figured that title would get your attention. There’s no way a guy that lived through Hurricane Katrina could make a statement like that. Charities give resources and meet needs of people around the world, and they have the political and social power to get things done in the community. The reason that I’m not too fond of them is because they are taking our jobs. Let me explain.
I did a little research on the 5 biggest charities in the United States. The top charity in the US is The American Red Cross. Started in 1881 under the leadership of President Garfield, The Red Cross raised over $3.4 billion last year. Included in their purpose statement are phrases like “helping victims of war and disasters… aiming to prevent and relieve suffering around the world… community service aimed at helping the needy… and to support and comfort hurting families.”
The second largest charity is Food for the Poor. They started in 1982 and raised $1.03 billion last year. Included in their purpose and vision is to “spiritually and physically renew impoverished people.”
The third largest charity is World Vision. Raising $976 million last year, their purposes include “working with children, families, and communities to address the problems of poverty and injustice, and to help all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, and gender.”
Another of the biggest charities is Volunteers of America. Raising $860 million last year, it’s one of the older charities, formed in 1896. They want to “help at-risk youth and the elderly, help with prisoner rehabilitation, the homeless, disabled, and recovering addicts.”
Wow, no wonder these charities are thriving. These organizations have great goals and succeed in meeting those goals every year. So why am I so upset? Take a look at those purpose statements again. As I look through Scripture, I see all of these things mentioned as needs that should be addressed and cared for. However, Scripture does not instruct secular organizations to do this. It doesn't instruct people with a lot of money or power to do these things. Scripture puts the responsibility and the privilege of serving others on the shoulders of the Church.
However, with the conception of “non-profit charity organizations”, the church has taken a back seat to helping others and meeting the needs in the community. We have allowed people outside of the church to meet the mandates of loving the “least of these.” In the process, the church has lost their voice in the community and around the world. When we fail to put others ahead of ourselves, we lose the respect of social and political figures as well as many people around the world who are looking for someone to step up and help solve the problems of social injustices everywhere.
Want proof? Take the three largest religious denominational organizations in the world. The combined funds raised by these organizations don’t even get close to what the Red Cross raises in a year. People donate time, money, and resources to organizations that they think are helping people and meeting needs around the world and in the community.
So, have we lost our vision? Have we forgotten the mandates of Scripture for the Church? The only way the church will regain its voice in the community and be known as the loving, serving, outwardly focused organization that it should be is when we decide to take our jobs back from these charity organizations and put more actions with our words. I’d love for charity organizations to become irrelevant because the main people meeting the needs of the community and the world are the followers of Christ.