In keeping with our Mission Statement and our call to be Christ’s disciples, numerous ministry teams and fellowship groups within our congregation work to: increase our love of God by increasing our love of neighbor; follow Christ to the side of all who suffer and despair; be Christ’s messengers and advocates for justice; be generous and thoughtful stewards of all of God’s gifts; and invite all who wish to join us to share in the joys and challenges of this calling.
Numerous groups within the church (Mission and Outreach, Woman’s Society, Plymouth Fellowship to name just a few) give their financial support and volunteer hours to partner with these various organizations. In particular, the Mission and Outreach Ministry Team is a group of dedicated volunteers working together to identify giving and volunteer opportunities for the church, with a goal of funding dynamic organizations that empower individuals and change lives.
We believe strongly in Robert Lupton’s Oath of Compassionate Service:
Never do for others what they have (or could have) the capacity to do for themselves;
Limit one-way giving to emergency situations;
Strive to empower the most vulnerable among us;
Subordinate self-interests to the needs of those being served;
Listen closely to those we seek to help, and above all, do no harm.
Over the last several years, the Mission and Outreach Committee has been revisiting how to best allocate its funds. The committee revamped its philosophy and practice of benevolent giving after reading a book by Robert Lupton called ‘Toxic Charity,’ which suggests:
Benevolent giving that does not empower the receiver could be doing more harm than good.
While compassion and generosity are the key to Christian ministry, they should be channeled in such a way that they benefit the recipients of ministry instead of inadvertently diminishing their dignity and increasing their dependency.
As such, the Mission and Outreach Ministry Team has put in place a two-year grant application process, where an extended evaluation will take place every two years and an abbreviated process takes place in the intervening year. That schedule will give the committee time every other year to focus on volunteer opportunities for the congregation and strengthening its partnerships with the chosen charities. In addition to the funding of its named charities, the committee will also continue its denominational giving. A small portion of the Mission and Outreach budget is also put aside every year to help with one-time giving opportunities, such as emergency relief efforts and refugee relocation.