The New Testament is based mostly around events which took place in the first century. In the first century, a matter that received priority was the provision for the material as well as spiritual needs of the ecclesial members. Many of the poorer members were supported by those for well off. The widows were also watched over. The ecclesia at Antioch sent relief to the believers at Judea during the great famine in the time of Claudius Caesar’s emperorship.
These first century examples give good support for the formal arrangements in our ecclesia and the central arrangements funded by many ecclesias. Individuals as members of the ecclesia have an important role in being aware of the needs of their fellow members of the ecclesia. They can not only give financial support but also help and encouragement. However, those who receive support from the ecclesias in the first century were expected to make appropriate efforts to provide for themselves. Paul makes this point clearly when he says “If any will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). These same principles apply today.
What happens in the ecclesia
The ecclesia has appointed a welfare team which endeavours to perform a moderate “Pastoral Care” function. This Pastoral Care includes arranging visits to the sick, elderly, etc., sending cards and contacting members who may be sick, absent, etc., and providing general welfare support as possible (e.g. information on social and external services).