In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

This is one of those y’all commands – a command given not to an individual, but to the church, the community, the ekklessia (Greek you=2nd person plural, that is “y’all”).

And yet churches still practice their do-gooding by writing checks and putting them into the mail.

Sending a check to a charity is a very poor way to share the love of Jesus. Here’s what happens: The check arrives in the mail and someone opens the letter (rarely the director, most likely a volunteer or an office worker). They take the check out, perhaps glancing at it, and then add it to the pile of other checks they received. When all the mail’s opened, the checks are taken to whomever records the giving so that a mail-merge letter can be sent (unless it’s a really BIG check, then the director is notified). Next, the checks are prepared for deposit and once deposited, the treasurer/bookkeeper gets the deposit slip. 

Two or three people, at most, saw the check … and not one of them probably said to themselves, “What a nice Jesus kind of gift.”

Sending money to charities is definitely not a Matthew 5:16 fulfillment. Instead of mailing a check, your church should arrange for a volunteer army to serve at any para-church ministry you support … and then have them take the check on one of the days that they’re volunteering. (And if there isn’t anyone willing to volunteer, then it’s time to evaluate if the ministry you’re supporting is really a ministry your church has any passion about … if no one is willing to volunteer, then people agree the ministry is a “good” thing, but it’s probably not a good thing for your church to support. Instead, take those funds and double up to support a ministry the church is passionate enough to get involved with.)

Stop sending checks. Start being a city on a hill.