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Posted: 5/20/2017 6:20:41 PM EST
[Last Edit: 5/20/2017 6:22:40 PM EST by Iram]
What's your church's policy on people begging on church grounds?

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Just for background, my church is about 15 miles from downtown Austin. For those of you who haven't visited, the nice weather and liberal government have created a HUGE homeless problem. Just about every intersection in town has three or four panhandlers during rush hour. Our church is on a road with a few housing developments (new homes, $300k+), but none are within a half mile of our church. No sidewalks on that road; you can't accidentally take a walk and and up in our parking lot.

Recently, while the pastor was preaching, we had a woman show up outside the church panhandling. The only description I heard was "with a sign". She was right outside our front door; no way to leave the church without getting within about 5 feet of her. One of the church Elders got her information, and said we'd be in touch but that she couldn't beg there. I was told her information was forwarded to a guy responsible for the church's community service outreach, and he'd follow up to see what her real needs were (i.e., make sure she wasn't scamming for beer money) before the church took any action.

She disappeared, and in under two minutes there's a man in the same spot "with a sign". He's also told to leave, more forcefully.

He disappears, and then someone notices a van idling in the parking lot. A church member who saw this all came to the conclusion that the van was the ride for the two panhandlers, and told the driver to leave (with a threat of calling the police).
Link Posted: 5/20/2017 8:15:36 PM EST
I have often seen them working in teams.
Link Posted: 5/20/2017 8:21:02 PM EST
Originally Posted By Iram:
What's your church's policy on people begging on church grounds?

----------

Just for background, my church is about 15 miles from downtown Austin. For those of you who haven't visited, the nice weather and liberal government have created a HUGE homeless problem. Just about every intersection in town has three or four panhandlers during rush hour. Our church is on a road with a few housing developments (new homes, $300k+), but none are within a half mile of our church. No sidewalks on that road; you can't accidentally take a walk and and up in our parking lot.

Recently, while the pastor was preaching, we had a woman show up outside the church panhandling. The only description I heard was "with a sign". She was right outside our front door; no way to leave the church without getting within about 5 feet of her. One of the church Elders got her information, and said we'd be in touch but that she couldn't beg there. I was told her information was forwarded to a guy responsible for the church's community service outreach, and he'd follow up to see what her real needs were (i.e., make sure she wasn't scamming for beer money) before the church took any action.

She disappeared, and in under two minutes there's a man in the same spot "with a sign". He's also told to leave, more forcefully.

He disappears, and then someone notices a van idling in the parking lot. A church member who saw this all came to the conclusion that the van was the ride for the two panhandlers, and told the driver to leave (with a threat of calling the police).
View Quote


Trying to spread the cost of homeless to the suburbs.
The van probably belonged to the Austin city homeless services.
Link Posted: 5/20/2017 11:54:45 PM EST
Originally Posted By Iram:
What's your church's policy on people begging on church grounds?

----------

Just for background, my church is about 15 miles from downtown Austin. For those of you who haven't visited, the nice weather and liberal government have created a HUGE homeless problem. Just about every intersection in town has three or four panhandlers during rush hour. Our church is on a road with a few housing developments (new homes, $300k+), but none are within a half mile of our church. No sidewalks on that road; you can't accidentally take a walk and and up in our parking lot.

Recently, while the pastor was preaching, we had a woman show up outside the church panhandling. The only description I heard was "with a sign". She was right outside our front door; no way to leave the church without getting within about 5 feet of her. One of the church Elders got her information, and said we'd be in touch but that she couldn't beg there. I was told her information was forwarded to a guy responsible for the church's community service outreach, and he'd follow up to see what her real needs were (i.e., make sure she wasn't scamming for beer money) before the church took any action.

She disappeared, and in under two minutes there's a man in the same spot "with a sign". He's also told to leave, more forcefully.

He disappears, and then someone notices a van idling in the parking lot. A church member who saw this all came to the conclusion that the van was the ride for the two panhandlers, and told the driver to leave (with a threat of calling the police).
View Quote


In California, we kept sandwiches and envelopes with support info and $5. The office lady kept track of the frequent fliers. The only recieved an envelope once a month.

We used to have a Hispanic woman who would be dropped off with her kids every once in awhile at SVdP in Austin. Then we would see her on a occasion ar St Williams. The pastor has spoken many times to them but they keep coming back after a few months.

I now live an hour away and we dont have this problem. But, go in to town sometimes for evening mass and see her sonetimes.

I don't know the best solution.
Link Posted: 5/21/2017 9:28:21 AM EST
I'm torn about this.

I really don't like the idea of telling someone "You're not welcome at church. Leave". It seems as far away from Jesus's example as you could get.

On the other hand, these guys were deliberately targeting our church.

We have potluck's almost every week. I'm not sure if just inviting them in for lunch is a good idea or not. Seems like it has the potential to turn our church into a soup kitchen. We already have problems with members (who are financially able) not bringing anything and running very low on food.
Link Posted: 5/21/2017 10:41:41 AM EST
We have potluck's almost every week. I'm not sure if just inviting them in for lunch is a good idea or not. Seems like it has the potential to turn our church into a soup kitchen. We already have problems with members (who are financially able) not bringing anything and running very low on food.
View Quote
what he said.

our church contributes time, treasure and effort to local food banks and pantries. we'd direct the folks there. if required, we'd drive them there. we've not seen any starving folks yet a d no one has asked to be taken to the food banks or pantries. they all seem to want CASH.

panhandlers? it's like anything else--the more you cater to or subsidize, the more you will get.

hey! didn't our Lord say: "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's?" Money vs food. we'll help them get FOOD, not MONEY for "questionable" purposes, like feeding their addictions.

we had incidents where poor boxes in the church would get ransacked; stuff defaced; and even a Pastor assaulted. so our local Sheriff posted a Deputy in the lobby for a few weeks--the word got out and the nonsense stopped.

before my retirement, I worked in a huge city. I'd get hit up by panhandlers daily on my walk to/from the office or while I walked or jogged at lunch. my solution: I kept a supply of my business cards on me. I'd always get the "I sure am hungry. Got a few bucks, Mister?" line from the panhandlers. I had earlier made a deal with a local restaurant on the main drag--feed anyone bringing in one of my business cards signed by me. When hit up by the panhandler, I'd pull out my business card and write on the backside: "Give this man a meal and charge it to my account," sign it, and point to the eatery on the street.

Of all the cards I signed and handed out, zero ever walked over to the restaurant to get a meal!

Link Posted: 5/21/2017 11:34:38 AM EST
In 2017 America, I firmly believe that probably 99% of these people are just taking advantage of suckers.

I don't think that it is a proper display of christian love to reward these types.
Link Posted: 5/21/2017 12:24:47 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Iram:
I'm torn about this.

I really don't like the idea of telling someone "You're not welcome at church. Leave". It seems as far away from Jesus's example as you could get.

On the other hand, these guys were deliberately targeting our church.

We have potluck's almost every week. I'm not sure if just inviting them in for lunch is a good idea or not. Seems like it has the potential to turn our church into a soup kitchen. We already have problems with members (who are financially able) not bringing anything and running very low on food.
View Quote
My own church had a couple show up looking for handouts. It just happened that they had an extra tray of Chick-Fil-A wraps and gave them the food.

Instead of giving them money though, they were advised on the local resources for assistance.
Link Posted: 5/22/2017 8:19:50 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/22/2017 8:24:29 PM EST
Church's, mine included run soup kitchens, what do you expect?
Link Posted: 5/22/2017 8:39:15 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/22/2017 9:08:53 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/23/2017 4:31:20 AM EST
Link Posted: 5/23/2017 5:11:43 AM EST
I've no problem (if I'm financially able) feeding or buying some food for a person in need.

I will NEVER give cash to a person on the street asking.

I will, however, patronize someone showing entrepeneurship- like buying a case of $3.00 spring water and a cooler and Ice on a hot day and reselling the bottles for a buck or whatever, or selling candy or something.

I'll also throw some money to street performers- people that are using talent (even if they aren't very good), but just holding a sign and begging, NOPE
Link Posted: 5/23/2017 12:44:10 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Iram:
I'm torn about this.

I really don't like the idea of telling someone "You're not welcome at church. Leave". It seems as far away from Jesus's example as you could get.

On the other hand, these guys were deliberately targeting our church.

We have potluck's almost every week. I'm not sure if just inviting them in for lunch is a good idea or not. Seems like it has the potential to turn our church into a soup kitchen. We already have problems with members (who are financially able) not bringing anything and running very low on food.
View Quote
I can feel that tension. We haven't experienced that exact situation, but if we did we'd probably invite them in for the services & then help them through our church's established channels where there's some accountability.

Like I said, we haven't had your exact situation, but we have had people come in off the streets asking for assistance and we've caught people eating out of our dumpster during services & that's how we've handled those situations.

But someone who just wants to hassle people as they come out of church? We wouldn't be fond of that.
Link Posted: 5/23/2017 7:28:39 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Zhukov:
And why shouldn't they?
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Originally Posted By Zhukov:
Originally Posted By underdogII:
Church's, mine included run soup kitchens, what do you expect?
And why shouldn't they?
Because your enabling them into expecting free shit from everyone. No different then giving panhandlers money to buy beer and drugs.
Most "poor people" are poor because of their lifestyle. Some exceptions no doubt.

If one has to live near homeless people and have to clean up after them they change their views of " poor people"
I'll say most homeless are either mentally handicapped or just plain simple FSA.
Link Posted: 5/23/2017 7:58:07 PM EST
Link Posted: 5/23/2017 8:43:23 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Zhukov:
Have you ever even read the New Testament? Is that the message that Jesus preached? 

Nobody likes people who abuse the generosity of others, but bad-mouthing a Christian Church for handing out food to needy people is absurd. 
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I suspect in Jesus's time there was a whole lot less dirtbags and FSA types.
Link Posted: 5/25/2017 5:57:59 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By underdogII:
Church's, mine included run soup kitchens, what do you expect?
View Quote
I've volunteered for plenty of "feed the poor" programs sponsored by churches that I was a member of, so that doesn't surprise me. None were actually "soup kitchens", mostly donated food from area businesses ("it's end-of-day so we can't sell this tomorrow"), but same idea.

None of those were run out of the actual church building, they were all separate buildings. In most cases they were separate legal entities that just "happened" to be completely staffed by volunteers from the church.
Link Posted: 5/25/2017 6:00:32 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By underdogII:


I suspect in Jesus's time there was a whole lot less dirtbags and FSA types.
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The actual scammers didn't survive as long either. See Acts 5:1-10.
Link Posted: 5/31/2017 9:07:17 AM EST
Link Posted: 5/31/2017 9:13:52 AM EST
Link Posted: 6/8/2017 10:54:37 AM EST
Never regret being good to the wrong people. Your behavior says everything about you and their behavior says enough about them.

Never step over the beggar. Christ couldn't pass them up either.

I can tell you from personal experience that you never know what someone has endured.
It's easy to judge if you don't know their story.
Some people have found ways to exploit the poor. We don't have to worry about this portion of it. God sees the darkness in their hearts. 
Regardless of who you run into remember that they will know we are Christian by your love.  You loose nothing by treating others with dignity and compassion.
Even your enemies.
Link Posted: 6/8/2017 1:12:52 PM EST
Link Posted: 6/23/2017 11:46:15 AM EST
I'm just reading at lunch and ran into 1 Timothy 5:2-8 (specifically verses 6, 7). Haven't fully processed it, but it might be relevant.
Link Posted: 6/27/2017 6:53:11 PM EST
When I address those with signs needing help I say, "Are you hungry friend?". When I get a positive answer I give them a bag of
food and water. I enjoy helping, in some small way, to feed someone who's hungry.
Link Posted: 8/9/2017 3:14:45 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/19/2017 2:25:44 PM EST by dreiwhit]
Several years ago, my church and the churches in my local area came together and helped establish an interfaith care center. All the churches support it and it provides assistance to people genuinely in need. Anyone needing help applies for help at the police department. That alone discourages scammers.

Heading up our church security team, our policy is when people show up asking for money, we let them talk with the pastor after the services are over. If anyone acts disruptive, or starts asking members for money, they are asked to leave.

The one that I see the most while working security is folks wanting money for "gas" - actually things other than gasoline.
Link Posted: 8/22/2017 12:21:56 PM EST
Originally Posted By Iram:
What's your church's policy on people begging on church grounds?

----------

Just for background, my church is about 15 miles from downtown Austin. For those of you who haven't visited, the nice weather and liberal government have created a HUGE homeless problem. Just about every intersection in town has three or four panhandlers during rush hour. Our church is on a road with a few housing developments (new homes, $300k+), but none are within a half mile of our church. No sidewalks on that road; you can't accidentally take a walk and and up in our parking lot.

Recently, while the pastor was preaching, we had a woman show up outside the church panhandling. The only description I heard was "with a sign". She was right outside our front door; no way to leave the church without getting within about 5 feet of her. One of the church Elders got her information, and said we'd be in touch but that she couldn't beg there. I was told her information was forwarded to a guy responsible for the church's community service outreach, and he'd follow up to see what her real needs were (i.e., make sure she wasn't scamming for beer money) before the church took any action.

She disappeared, and in under two minutes there's a man in the same spot "with a sign". He's also told to leave, more forcefully.

He disappears, and then someone notices a van idling in the parking lot. A church member who saw this all came to the conclusion that the van was the ride for the two panhandlers, and told the driver to leave (with a threat of calling the police).
View Quote


Well I go row to row with a straw basket asking for parishioners to put their weekly in.

How different is that from those in the street?
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