Do you find yourself once again with an empty bottle of vodka? Is your arm aching for a newer needle? Or maybe that pesky landlord doesn’t realize that your cigarettes were more important than your rent. Whatever the need, I hope this article helps you squeeze some money out of a local church.
Step One: Find a church who doesn’t know you. Preferably several.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t been inside a sanctuary since your grandma took you to VBS at the local Community Church. Churches aren’t interested in building a relationship with you, since they have unlimited resources to help those in need. They operate solely under the guilt of the gospel, and would actually prefer to throw money at you than have to walk with you in your suffering. If possible, mix and match your contacts and assume that they never talk to each other. Churches only care about themselves and their bottom line, anyway. If you’re a different ethnicity that they are, keep that card in your back pocket.
Step Two: Get your story straight.
By this I mean be sure to write a lengthy sob story that includes every bit of suffering you have ever experienced. Memorize it until you can recite the entire thing in one breath. Abused as a child, trouble with the law, fired from work, health problems, etc. A dying mother in another state (or better yet a sick child at home) is especially helpful in order to maximize the sympathy. Don’t forget to sprinkle in enough mention of Jesus and your strong Christian faith. They eat that stuff up.
Step Three: Go straight to the pastor, but get him at the most inconvenient time.
It might take some coercion to speak directly to the pastor, but he’s ultimately the one who can authorize the amount of money you’re looking for. Even if a church has a procedure in place for alms requests, you can usually strong arm your way into his voice mail. Be sure to do this on either a Friday at dinnertime or Sunday afternoon so that he is desperate to get off the phone.
Step Four: Turn on the charm.
Let’s face it, you’re a pro at this by now. Use all the grade-A manipulation techniques you learned from that first boyfriend who got you pregnant. Spill the story you so carefully concocted, pausing to sniffle at the appropriate times. Don’t forget to mention that you called 211, the Salvation Army, and any other government agencies and case workers that exist to help people like you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve actually called them; he won’t check.
Step Five: Be as vague as possible.
Repeat after me: “Any help I can get.” You don’t want a gas card, you don’t want your bill paid, you certainly don’t want to go to the church and meet the people supporting you. You want cash. Cold, hard, cash. If the pastor offers something—anything—besides cash, stutter around a bit so that he knows how grateful you are but that offer really isn’t good enough. If he has a heart he’ll offer more, but don’t push your luck. You get one shot at this bargaining tactic, so make it count. If you get something, take it and run. You can always come back next month. If on the odd chance he invites you to church, reassure him that you’re a faithful member of the [fill in the blank] church in [the next town over]. Again, he won’t check.
Step Six (if necessary): Get belligerent.
If for some reason the pastor stands firm in his paltry offer, or requires some effort on your part (like showing up to the office during business hours with a photo ID), accuse him of being a terrible Christian. Threaten to sour his reputation around town, leave a bad Google review, etc. You don’t need to follow through on your threats—just move along to the next church. But he might be so ashamed of his lack of Christian love that he buckles. Remember, most pastors have no clue when they’re being manipulated, and you’ve spent your whole life practicing. You’re the expert with the WWJD bracelet, not him; make sure he knows that the Lord will judge him and he should be ashamed of himself.
Congratulations! You’re well on your way to being a professional beggar! Remember, it’s the church’s responsibility to support you unconditionally and show you love in whatever way you demand. Since you are just a victim, a product of the system, you are excused from any personal responsibility. You are the one in need, so you get to set the parameters and call all the shots.