I Dream of a Church (#15)

26 04 2012

In my “I Dream of a Church” series I having been writing about a collection of thoughts, ideas, and questions I’ve had from the last several years about what a church might look like (given an ideal situation). I don’t claim for any of these to be original, ground-breaking, or otherwise amazing. You can find other entries in this series by clicking here.

#15. I dream of a church where…

Micro-loans/Grants are offered to the community.

Let’s imagine you – or someone like you – are living paycheck to paycheck and your daughter gets sick. Not just the simple runny nose and a cough kind of sick, but sick to the point where you need to take her to the hospital at 3 a.m. Let’s say, because you had to take your sick daughter to the hospital, that you rack up lots of debt (or even a little debt) … and that this puts you in a deep hole. Because you – or someone like you – are living paycheck to paycheck. One option, which many in this situation use, is to go to a place like Payday Loans and take out a loan on their paycheck. Unfortunately such loans are dangerous (to put it lightly)… charging outlandish fees, interest, and penalties. Using this option will end you – or someone like you – in a much, much deeper hole.

So, I dream of a church that offers a couple of options:

1) What if the church offered micro-loans to people in the community? (You can decide how you define the community – whether it is only people in the church, or includes the people in the surrounding neighborhoods… I choose the second). These loans would be interest free and could counter the dangers of places like Payday Loans.

2) What if the church offered grants/gifts to people in the community? (Yes, many churches already do something like this and have a special account set aside for it). The recipients could, if they are able, either pay the money back to the church or “pay it forward” to someone else in need. If they aren’t able to, no sweat.

A couple of dangers:

– Loans/grants/gifts could foreseeably lead to a sort of shame. If this happens, people might not feel comfortable in the church.

– Grants/gifts could potentially allow folks to take less responsibility for the money (as opposed to being aware that they need to pay back a loan).

Thoughts?

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