Charity and compassion are an integral part of the Christian culture. We are called by God to care and to help those in need and so we belong to churches that feed people, clothe people, take in the homeless and visit the prisoner. Charity is such a large part of our spiritual DNA. However, charity has its dangers. We can give and give and give so much and so often that we actually contribute to the building of a spirit of dependency.
Not all but much of the charity that is provided by the church is designed to meet an immediate need. I'm hungry, please feed me, I'm naked please clothe me are examples of addressing immediate needs. These charitable deeds are done with right motives and right hearts but they cannot adequately address the reasons why a person is hungry, naked or homeless. As good as our traditional charity is we need to admit its' limitations and search for a new vision of charity that can get to the root of a person's poverty so they don't have to be asking for a hand-out.
A new vision for charity has to include ministry that recognizes joblessness (for any reason) as a predictor of poverty and if we can work on the jobless problem the poverty problem will diminish. Faith-Based Social Enterprise is one of the new generation of compassion ministries that address the social problem of joblessness. It is 100% faith-based, taking its leading from the Lord. It is 100% social mission driven, addressing the problems of joblessness and poverty. It is 100% enterprise because it achieves its social mission by operating businesses that are the venues for hiring, job training and generating revenues that sustain the orgainzation.
Leadership doesn't have to make a choice between the traditional compassion ministry or something new. Instead of either/or scenerio we need to realize that we can build a bridge between the two. It is this bridge that opens up the possiblity for a New Vision for Charity.