Shouldn’t Christians be helping everyone? Why only people who share your faith? Doesn’t the Bible tell you to do good to all? Why does Barnabas Aid only direct their aid to Christians?
“As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people,
especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Galatians 6:10, emphasis added
When we look at this verse in Galatians, we can see that Paul calls on believers to help all people, but especially our own Christian brothers and sisters. There are lots of excellent Christian organisations around the world that do good to all people in difficult or dangerous situations. But at Barnabas Aid we believe our calling is to help especially the family of believers.
We must also realise that, in many places where Christians are in the minority, they are often the neediest. They tend to suffer discrimination and can be overlooked when it comes to receiving aid and practical support. This is where Barnabas Aid steps in – to fill that void and to ensure that followers of Christ in circumstances of suffering or persecution are fully supported and not forgotten.
“A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
John 13:34, emphasis added
Barnabas Aid aims to help Christians, but a little of the aid we send may reach others. Just as we support Christians in need, so the Christian recipients of our support may share what they have received from Barnabas and “do good to all people” in their own communities or regions. Christian schools and Christian clinics often have some non-Christian pupils and non-Christian patients. Wells given primarily to help Christian communities may also be used by non-Christians.
Barnabas Aid helps suffering Christians in over 100 different countries. We achieve this through our relationships with churches and Christian ministries around the world, though whom we channel our support.
Prayer is another practical way to help the suffering Church around the world. We believe that everyone can experience God and grow in their faith in Him through prayer. As believers, we can strengthen our relationship with Jesus, but also strengthen Christian brothers and sisters in need by praying to Jesus about their situations.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Our projects are a central part of our work, raising awareness of war, natural disasters, famine, disease and persecution that affect Christians around the world. We want to enable Christians to participate in meeting the practical and spiritual needs of our church family.
Where supporters donate to a specific project, we commit that 100% of every £1 donated will be used to the project chosen; we will not make any deductions for our overheads. If the project chosen already has sufficient funding, we will use your gift to help a similar project, again without making any deductions from your gift. Our overheads are taken from gifts to the General Fund and are currently less than 12% of our total income. We’ve got more information on how your money is used on our About Us page.
Food.gives and medical.gives are two ways you can send practical aid directly to Christians in need around the world. Barnabas supporters donate items and we ship them to other countries to be distributed to needy Christians.
Like our other projects, the .gives programmes channel help “from Christians, through Christians to Christians”. But the help sent is not money; it is bags of flour or rice or PPE or other “gifts in kind”.
Shortages can be severe in many countries, and while sending money may be quicker, sometimes there isn’t enough food to purchase locally or there simply isn’t enough equipment or resources to help.
Many countries also impose sanctions that prevent any organisations sending money, even to aid those in need. In these circumstances, both food and medical supplies can still be sent to make a dramatic difference and save the lives who face hunger or aren’t able to access local healthcare.
Donations of money or goods absolutely make a practical difference to Christian lives, but they also build up the recipients spiritually too. Knowing that their situations don’t go unnoticed and there are Christian brothers and sisters far away who remember them and care for them is encouraging and inspiring to those who receive our aid.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11, emphasis added
In the same manner, Barnabas Aid shares the stories of the recipients of their aid to encourage and build up those who have given to the cause. The generous response to our appeals can change and even save lives, providing food, shelter, warmth, medicine and safety to Christians who need it. Schooling and livelihoods give hope for the future, and other projects give other vital help. Sharing this good news also shares the encouragement with givers, building up Christ’s Church as a whole on a global scale.
Barnabas+ is one of the ways we’re sharing these stories with anyone who wants to find out more about Barnabas Aid’s work. You’ll find testimonies and stories of those who have benefitted from our work, but you’ll also find Christian movies, sermons, talk shows and much, much more. It’s a place that aims to strengthen, comfort and encourage Christians from around the world. And it’s absolutely free to sign up!
Barnabas Aid usually works by sending support – whether money, food or other practical aid – rather than sending people.
We believe that the local Christian leadership are normally the best people to start, organise and run a project; they understand the culture, speak the language and know who are the neediest in their congregation or other Christian group. Sending someone from a distant country to do the work would be much more expensive. Also, in some countries, a visible foreign involvement can risk bringing down further persecution on the very people we are trying to help. (There are, however, some situations where a cross-cultural Christian worker can usefully bring specific expertise and skills that are lacking locally.)
This is why we believe that sending money or “gifts in kind” through churches or ministries on the ground in the places of pressure or persecution is normally the most effective way of serving our suffering brothers and sisters.
We do support some local pastors and others in full-time Christian ministry, who are serving God in their own country or their own people-group.
You can find out more about what we’re doing currently on our ‘What does Barnabas Aid do?’ page.