I'M NEW HERE GET INVOLVED MINISTRIES COMMUNITIES eGIVING

Dilemma at the Intersection: How to best help the panhandler

by Steve Blanchard, Associate Pastor, Christian Compassion

It is almost impossible to pull up to any major intersection in the metro area and not encounter someone holding a sign that says, “Hungry. Homeless. Anything Will Help. God Bless” or “Homeless Veteran. God Bless you” or any other of a dozen like signs. The question for most people is whether to ignore them, look the other way, or to crack the window and sneak out a few coins or maybe even a dollar. Either way, for many people, their conscience nags at them. And it is relatively easy to take the quick and simple way out and give them money. It is, however, what they really want and it makes us feel better. Right? But is that what is really best for the person on the receiving end? Is that what is really best for us as someone who wants to do the right thing. Without engaging in stereotypes, becoming judgmental, or coming up with a blanket response to deal with the individuals personal situation, let’s look at some potential and helpful ways of making a difference.

1. First of all, that person on the corner is an individual, one of God’s children. A person who most likely desires respect, love, and dignity. Take a moment from your hurried life and give them just that. Talk to them, introduce yourself, engage them in a brief conversation, look them in the eye and show them that you are not just another passerby.

2. In your conversation listen for the need. Sometimes a person is hungry or really wants a job. Sure, they will take money but maybe that is not what they really want. Of course, the opposite is true as well. Sometimes they say they want food or a job when all they want is money. It is hard to discern this in just a few moments but we still must listen with our ears, our mind and our spirit.

3. If the person is truly hungry, consider taking them to lunch and having a conversation or at least going to buy them lunch and bringing it to them. It may not be that you cannot trust them by giving them money but there may be others watching. And the fact that others know that person has cash in their pocket may make them an easy target later on. If they want a job, consider hiring them to do a small job at your home or in the community. Working for your pay is, for most people, still a pathway to dignity.

4. Know what services are available in the community that might meet a variety of needs presented by an individual. Offer to make a phone call or maybe even a ride to a service provider if done so in a safe manner. Check out other information on this web site regarding some of the services available in our community.

5. Do not make promises you are not going to keep.

6. Be honest.

7. Do not suppose you know the person’s situation. Do not engage in stereotypes or generic solutions that you use to just get away from the individual.

8. Face the fact that there are some you cannot help, in fact, that person has to want help first and foremost. You can walk alongside them but you cannot do it for them. Let them take the lead in their decisions and actions.

9. Decide how much you want to get involved. Most people’s lives are complex to say the least, and you will find that the initial need presented is usually but the tip of the iceberg. Know your strengths as well.

10. Finally, pray before you engage. Ask God’s direction. Maybe God does direct you to give money and walk away but make sure it is God’s voice you hear. Be God’s presence to that person. Maybe the best you can offer is a handshake and a prayer but whatever it is, make it sincere

 
  Ministries
Christian community
Christian invitation
Christian formation
Christian worship
Christian compassion
Communication
Support


Missions
Divorce recovery
Music
New Americans
Prayer
Recreation
Upward sports
First Baptist Preschool
  Communities
Children
Youth
Young adults
Adults
Senior adults
Women
Sunday school
Deacons
Deaf




First Things First
online


FBC home
  Spiritual Growth
What is a Christian?
First Connection
Daily devotionals
Bible studies
Faith stories
Pastor's blog
Sermons
Stewardship
Sunday@FBC




WebClass Bible
study


I'm new here...
  Resources
Calendar
CDs & DVDs
eGiving
Library
Media clips
News
Podcast
Webcast
Weddings
Scholarship fund
Endowment fund


KOH2RVA


Getting involved
  About us
Who we are
How to join
Weekly schedule
Location
Parking
Staff
Organization
History
Weather closing
Website tour






Microchurch
  Connect with us

RSS
Facebook
Twitter
Vimeo
Youtube
Receive email news
 
 
FBC exists to make disciples of Jesus Christ through joyful worship, caring fellowship, spiritual nurture,
faithful service & compassionate outreach in the Richmond area and throughout the world.
This site is maintained by the Communication Ministry of First Baptist Church.
Send comments or suggestions to the FBC webmaster.