(based on our Purpose Statement, culture statements and historical mission practices)
- We believe that one of the vital components of being a fully devoted follower of Christ is to show compassion to the poor. The Biblical record is clear that God has a soft spot in his heart for the ‘least of these’ and he has called his followers to have the same and to show it in practical service to assist them in their need. We believe that we will give an account to God of how we responded to the ‘least of these’ around us (Matthew 25).
- We believe that one of the other vital components of being a fully devoted follower of Christ is to go to the lost with the message of Christ. Compassion ministry is not the only way we evangelize, but compassion ministry is a natural context to share the message of God’s love and grace given to us through Christ on the cross and we will be intentional about sharing not just bread but also the ‘Bread of life’.
- From time to time God may call us to initiate a local compassion ministry. However, we believe our primary calling is to come along side local agencies that are already doing that ministry and support them with volunteers and financial resources.
- We will seek to invest our time and resources in the local agencies that are both meeting the physical and spiritual needs of those they serve.
- From time to time God may call us to serve local agencies primarily with our financial resources. However, we believe our primary calling is to serve local agencies that not only need our financial assistance but our volunteer assistance as well. We strongly desire our people to ‘follow the money’ into the context of need whenever possible.
- We believe in assisting the poor, but we also believe in helping the poor become independent and capable of supporting themselves. Therefore, we will seek to partner with agencies who desire to help people gain independence and work their way out of poverty and into independence.
Never do for the poor what they have (or could have) the capacity to do for themselves.
Personal responsibility is essential for social, emotional and spiritual well being as to not disempower them. The effective helper can be an encourager, a coach, a partner but never a caretaker.
Limit one-way giving to emergency situations.
Ask yourself if the need is crisis or chronic? Victims of a devastating event need immediate medical attention, shelter, essential supplies and hoards of volunteers. Over time survivor needs shift to expert consultation, a practical plan and a combination of grants and loans to help them rebuild their destroyed community.
- Give once and you elicit appreciation;
- Give twice and you create anticipation;
- Give three times and you create expectation;
- Give four times and it becomes entitlement;
- Give five times and you establish dependency.
Strive to empower the poor through employment, lending, and investing, using grants sparingly to reinforce achievements.
Lending to the poor establishes mutually beneficial relationships characterized by responsibility, accountability, and respect. Lending done well, builds mutual trust and respect. Investing-making money with the poor-is the ultimate method that economically strengthens through job-creating partnerships and implies an ownership stake in sustainability and profitability of the venture.
Subordinate self-interests to the needs of those being served.
Organizational interests can subtly take precedence over the interest of the poor. When the church agenda is to create an inspiring, enriching and well planned mission experience for members, the real needs like decent schools and stable employment may be overlooked and dismissed.
Listen closely to those you seek to help; especially to what is not being said-unspoken feelings may contain essential clues to effective service.
The poor we serve may be reluctant to reveal ‘the whole story’ to helpers due to intimidation, fear of judgment, fear of losing support, fear of appearing unappreciative. . Effective helpers must learn to carefully observe behaviors, ask insightful questions, use their intuition, and hear what is not being said.
Above all, do no harm.
Before we embark on any new service venture, we should conduct an ‘impact study’ to consider how our good deeds might have unintended consequences. Are we creating dependencies that may ultimately erode self-sufficiency?
Supported Community Agencies
River Oaks Community Church actively supports the following agencies through finances and volunteer opportunities.
The following service groups are compassion ministries based at River Oaks. These groups offer opportunities to SHOW compassion to the poor both within and outside the walls of River Oaks.
Endorsed Community Agencies
The following local agencies are faith-based ministries in which individuals at River Oaks are involved with and have been affirmed by the Local Compassion Committee. If you are interested in more information about these agencies, click on a name below.
Regular attenders of River Oaks Community Church actively involved in local, faith-based agencies may submit an agency for the Local Compassion Committee to consider for endorsement. Please Email Tara Judd with information about the agency.