How to Handle Benevolence Requests in Bus Ministry

Charles Green

A bus ministry will greatly increase benevolence requests. Wisdom must be used in today’s society or the church will be taken advantage of and unnecessary money spent. These guidelines will be found helpful to head-off the “professional beggars.”

I. Only Members of the Church or Families of Regular Bus Riders Are Candidates for Food

II. Explain To People Calling In That Due To the Many Requests, You Can Only Help the Before Mentioned Groups of People (See #1)

III. With Bus Families, Our Procedure Is To Provide Food Assistance Twice a Year

A. If you don’t have some policy like this, many will expect a food delivery every month when their food stamp money runs out due to mismanagement in most cases
B. Keep in mind that there are always exceptions to a policy like this

IV. If You Are Contacted About the Need for Food While Visiting on the Bus Route, Always Say, “Our Pastor Wants Us to Look In the Refrigerator and Cabinets to Verify Your Real Need”

A. Explain to them that we want to help those that have a real need but must guard against those who take advantage of a church

V. If the People Call the Church Requesting Food, the Bus Director Should Always Call the Bus Captain to (1) See If the Kids Do Attend, (2) See If, In His Opinion, There Is a Real Need

VI. If Possible, the Bus Captain Should Buy and Deliver the Food; If Not Possible, the Bus Director Should Take Care of It

VII. There Are a Number of Ways You Can Come Up With the Food

A. Purchase the food at the grocery store
B. Have a food pantry at the church that members periodically stock with canned and dry goods; then you would only have to purchase bread, milk, meat, etc.
C. Refer the people to a food bank or community agency that will actually help them
D. Keep in mind that a lot of requests can sure “eat” into a benevolence budget quickly

VIII. When Purchasing the Groceries at the Market, We Only Purchase About $25.00 Worth of Food

A. Explain to the people that we have a limit to our purchases for each family due to the many requests

IX. Purchase Only Necessary Items

A. Don’t provide items such as cookies, ice cream, chips, T-bone steaks, soft drinks, etc.
B. Limit it to items that are the least expensive but would stretch to filling meals (Examples)

1. Potatoes
2. Bread
3. Milk
4. Eggs
5. Rice
6. Soup
7. Beans
8. Crackers
9. Hot dogs
10. Ground beef
11. Canned fruit
12. Canned vegetables
13. Macaroni and cheese (boxed)

X. The Above Procedures Will Help You Head Off the Professional Church Beggars and Conserve Your Church Finances So You Can Continue To Help Those with a Real Need

XI. Every Time a Benevolence Request Is Made It Goes Without Saving That the Families Spiritual Condition Should Be Investigated

A. Many times due to a real need in their lives, it is a good time to win the family to Christ

XII. You Would Want To Be Very Cautious About Paying Rent and Utility Bills

A. Keep in mind this will really get expensive in the case of bus families
B. You must have a consistent policy
C. Active families attending your church would be treated differently in most cases
D. Your pastor, deacons and bus director should have a workable policy for your ministry

This article ‘How to Handle Benevolence Requests in Bus Ministry’ was excerpted from: Bus Ministry Handbook by Charles Green. Self Published 1988. Used by Permission. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes ‘Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.’