The following remarks about member moves from Ron Lohr, Pastor in Tampa, Florida, concern a problem that is fairly wide-spread and especially affects us here at Pasadena. Pastors in the area tell me that an average of between one and two persons a week end up here without funds and with nowhere to go.
As Ron observes, most of these members making unwise moves are not malicious. They are just picking up stakes and moving without seeking the proper counsel or considering the seriousness of their situation.
Please follow Ron's suggestion and mention the problem to any in your congregation who may be contemplating a move. It is wrong for members with inadequate funds to move with the idea in the back of their minds that the Church will take care of them if they run into trouble.
After counseling with a couple of financially destitute families that have just moved into the area, the thought occurred to me that we ought to make some kind of public statement to the effect that, the Church will not be on the other end to bail them out (usually from the Central Clearing Account) when members make ill-planned moves from church area to church area. They may leave one city with no money and no definite job and go on "faith." When they get to their destination, broke, they know of no place to turn so they call the local minister. The cases I have observed are not malicious, just ill-planned.
This is probably more of a problem in Tampa which I would describe as a "transient" church, but unless a comment is made nationwide, it will be of little help since I have members moving in here from all over the country.
Another idea that I am trying out in my never-ending crusade to properly administer the Central Clearing Account is that certain cases I am asking the requester to provide me a written statement from Welfare as to their inability to assist the requester.