The commenter ended up donating to CHC.
Our mission to “help churches” can be easily misunderstood, so I wanted to expand a bit more. Here is why we exist as an organization, why we help churches specifically, and why we believe churches are the hope for a disaster-stricken country.
- Churches are organized and spread out.
Churches are one of the best and largest networks in the world. Within hours of the tsunami in Japan, I was connected with associations that span the entire country. We had specific names and contacts in each city to help gather assessment information. That information has become critical to rescue operations everywhere.
Historically, churches are some of the primary channels for aid distribution. That’s why on a purely strategic level, non-religious organizations utilize churches as channels for aid distribution. Once you untangle a church, it untangles a lot of other things.
- Churches are generally recognized as community leaders.
In many towns in Haiti, the people turn to the church for help before they turn to the government. Also in Haiti, where rioting has been a recurring problem, you need to find someone that people respect.
Many people will respect the church. The members of the community know who the pastor is and that they are trying to help. When people are dying of thirst, try giving water to a random dude to distribute it. Riot. Try giving it to a foreigner. Inefficient, ignorant. Now, try giving it to a church. It’s not a guarantee, but you have a much better chance of success. That’s why churches, among other preexisting local organizations, are some of the most effective at helping others.
- Helping churches is developmentally sustainable.
They’re around long before we get there and will be there long after I leave. When an organization or an individual engages community members directly, they are often beginning something that they will not finish. Churches are there to stay without a finish line or project end date in sight. It’s their life. It’s what they do, where they live, for as long as they live.
- The church offers eternal hope.
Many groups can offer material needs. It’s imperative that the church be among the best at offering material needs. But above all, the church offers an aspect of relief that is exclusive: “… for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
People are afraid of dying, and nobody can ultimately assure them it’s going to be OK. There will be more catastrophes, more death, more pain. Those are inevitable. We can’t assure ourselves of our own lives.
The only unshakeable hope is one built on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. It’s the only hope that cannot be touched by an earthquake, a tsunami, radiation, or even death itself (Romans 8:37–39). As one of our co-founders, Pastor James MacDonald, has said, “You can have everything and not have Jesus, and you have nothing. You can have nothing and have Jesus, and you have everything.”
- They are our brothers and sisters.
In the UK, the local news is constantly talking about efforts to account for all British citizens in Japan. Families place a priority on searching for their loved ones. Special interest groups target those of personal affiliation, while not ignoring others. These are my brothers and sisters. Blood is thicker than water, but Jesus’ blood is thickest of them all.
If the gospel is true, then in God’s eyes, these Japanese brothers and sisters are my family as much (or dare I say more) family. If the institution of blood relatives, albeit a temporary one, is important, how much more the eternal bonds of our brothers and sisters in Christ?
- God tells us to.
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)
Throughout history, churches have done some shameful things in the name of God. But when the church is running the way it’s supposed to, God’s way, it is breathtakingly beautiful. I pray that people in Japan would see the church shine as the beautiful light of Jesus Christ.