097 – How do you know when to help people? [Podcast]

Listener question

Welcome to Season 3 of the Your Church Matters podcast. In this episode (97) I’m continuing a multi-episode series answering questions from a survey I did a few months back with my subscriber list.


Question: “There are so many people out to scam others so how do you know when to help people. I have heard different takes on this but no one wants to be taken so how do you handle this?”



Issues at hand

Since there are some particulars about the questions with which I am unfamiliar, I’ve identified some general issues:

  • Requests for help come both to churches and to individuals.  Since this podcast is more church focused, I will lean that way in my discussion.  However, some principles work either way.
  • Requests for help come both from individuals and organizations/causes.  Some principles work either way, but there will certainly need to be individualized responses.

I have good news and bad news.

First, the bad news

  • There are indeed people who are out to scam.
  • They will target Christians because they know:
    • We care deeply.
    • We look for the best in people and causes.
    • We tend not to really do our homework
    • We are generally unfocused.
    • We are easily manipulated by sad stories.
    • We are supposed to be gracious and forgiving.
  • At some point, someone will take advantage of us.

Grandpa said (when someone took advantage of him), “If he can live with it, I can live without it.”

The good news

  • Those with legitimate needs and good causes far outnumber the scammers.
  • It is much easier to find information than ever before.
  • The fact that you are able to ask the question is an indication that God has blessed you with resources to help.
  • God does not expect you to say “yes” to every request, but to display His character in every response.

With those in mind, I want to finish with some strategic focus.  Strategy does not kill freedom; it creates it.  If you have clarity on where you are and where you are headed, you are able to make better decisions because you are not having to create strategy “on the fly” in every circumstance.

Be strategic

  • Clearly identify your missional priorities and strategies.
  • Strengthen partnerships to multiply effective ministry.
  • Prayerfully choose a primary focus ministry and review annually.
  • Establish a budget (time, talent, money).
  • Say “no” with grace because you are clear on your larger “yes.”
  • Leave room for “God moments.”


How you can help me help others:

  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and give us a rating and review. 
  • We are also on Stitcher.com and Google Play, so if you prefer one of those formats, please subscribe there.
  • Share the love by clicking on one or more of the social share buttons at either the top or bottom of this post.

To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:

1. Comment section below

2. Email: contactgerrylewis@gmail.com

3. Voicemail: 817-929-0643

4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis

*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)

*Special thanks to Nathan Woodward (Saxophone Music)



Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, argumentative, off-topic, or just plain unhelpful.