Benevolence Fund Guidelines

Purpose

Gulf Coast Community Church of Brandon, in the exercise of its religious and charitable
purposes have established a benevolence fund to assist persons in financial need.

Donations

Our mission to provide benevolence is dependent on the Lord and congregational giving. The
church highly encourages members to donate separately from normal tithes and offerings
(general fund) as each is led (Deut 15:7-8; 2 Cor 9:7; Matt 6:19-20). We ask our members to
prayerfully consider 2 Corinthians 8:9-15 when considering giving to the benevolence fund.
Christ became poor so that by His poverty we might become rich. With that in mind and as a
matter of fairness, we are to give out of our abundance to supply those in need.
Contributions made to the fund by check should include a notation that the funds are
designated for the benevolence fund. Additionally, contributions can be made through Giving
Fire (https://gulfcoastbrandon.givingfire.com) by selecting “Benevolence” under the “Fund”
drop-down menu.

Giving to the benevolence fund is not the only avenue for showing love to needy brothers and
sisters. In other words, donating to this fund does not absolve each of us from our responsibility
to continually, personally, and sacrificially give of our counsel, prayer, resources, and time.

Fund Management

The administration of benevolence funds is under the oversight of the church elders, and
prayerfully administered by the Benevolence Fund Committee consisting of at least three
members (Acts 6:1-4; Prov 11:14). Donors are free to suggest beneficiaries of their
contributions, but the committee is not bound by these suggestions. While we seek to manage
the fund wisely, we also want to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Every situation will present its
own set of challenges, and the administration of the funds may not look the same in every case.
Additionally, to best assist the individual or family while ensuring the best use of resources, we will
consider and evaluate all available financial resources (gov’t assistance, employer benefits,
family and church assistance, and hard assets – such as mortgage and other loan deferrals,
borrowing from home equity, retirement plans, etc.) (1 Tim 5:3-8).

Restrictions

The benevolence fund must be organized and operated in a manner consistent with the
church’s tax-exempt charitable status with the IRS (Luke 20:19-26). No elder or committee
member will approve benevolence funds for a relative. If a committee member or vocational
elder is in need or have a family member in need, they must recuse themselves for either
situation to be considered. No employee of Gulf Coast Community Church of Brandon will be
eligible to receive benevolence from the fund (1 Tim 3:1-3).

Recipients

Our priorities will be based on an expanding circle of needs, focusing first on our members and
expanding outward to guests, community, nation, etc. We will also prioritize the poor,
widowed, orphaned, distressed, elderly, and/or disabled. Benevolence is limited to serious
financial needs including but not limited to: (a) a need resulting directly from an identifiable,
sudden, and unexpected event; (b) the inability to provide for the basic necessities of life, such
as food, clothing, and other basic sustenance; (c) unusual and uninsured medical expenses
caused by illness or accident; and (d) a need for supplemental assistance by an aged or
handicapped individual with an income insufficient to maintain a minimum standard of living.  An
emergency event could include a serious injury or illness of the applicant or a member of the
applicant’s household, loss of income, casualty or theft of personal property or a workplace, or
civil unrest. Assistance will not be provided for expenses covered by insurance or other sources.
The level of support provided will be primarily determined by need rather than by the number
of people requesting help at a given time. When a hardship occurs due primarily to unwise
behavior, the committee will need to carefully evaluate whether financial help is the best form
of assistance.

Procedures

The committee will always seek God’s wisdom to determine how best to serve each individual
and/or family (Prov 2). While benevolence funds will be used for emergency needs, we will also
consider how to best support the long-term financial and spiritual health of the
individual/family. Candidates for benevolence should provide a written explanation and
supporting documentation detailing the hardship need (see attached benevolence request
form). Circumstances may require additional documentation to provide the best support.

Long-Term Support

The underlying issues for financial hardships sometimes include poor habits. These habits may
seem like normal behavior to the world but are not biblical. They have real consequences for an
individual’s or family’s long-term viability. Therefore, it will sometimes be appropriate to
receive financial counseling and accountability as a condition of assistance, for the recipient to
avoid future hardship and enjoy the fullest that GCCC-B Benevolence Form God has to offer in Christ (Prov 19:20).

To request benevolence assistance from Gulf Coast Community Church of Brandon, please complete the Benevolence Request Form by accessing the link below.  Once completed and digitally signed, please forward it to one of the elders or deacons, or email to [email protected] for review and consideration.  A Benevolence Committee Member may follow up with a phone call to discuss further.

Open the request form with Adobe Acrobat in order to sign and fill out the document.

Benevolence Request Form