A week or so ago, I received a phone call at the church from a woman in tears. A family member had been hurt in a car accident and they needed to get a bus there. Time was of the essence. We ended up getting the money to the lady as quickly as we could.
I found out later that same woman had called and received money from a number of other churches with a similar but slightly different story. It was just a money grab.
This is not the first time people have lied to get money.
Early in my ministry I gave money to man who needed bus fare to go to another city by 3:00 pm. That evening I saw him walking around in the same city where I had given him the money.
As churches, we want to help people in need. I have been in the position where I have needed help from churches and I know there are many other sincere people who could benefit from churches.
But the people who rip off churches make it difficult.
Some churches make it a policy to not give financial assistance to people outside the congregation. While I don’t want to go that route, I understand it. It is discouraging to find out you have been lied to for your money.
I think it is important for churches and pastors to talk to one another and compare notes. I do believe that we are held accountable for what we do with our resources and not for what other people do with those resources. But it is also important to try and make sure that the help gets to the people who re really in need.
There are no easy answers.