For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
Is it really an essential ministry of the church to minister to the needy outside the church? In the scripture quoted, Jesus specifically said we should "do to the least of these MY BROTHERS." He said we would always have the poor among us, and the primitive church as recorded in Acts shared with one another, not those outside the body of Christ. There are no direct examples in any of the epistles of the Church being told to meet the temporal needs of the unbeliever. While it is certainly a "good work for all to see and therefore glorify your Heavenly Father ," I don't see the bible teaching us it is an essential ministry of the local congregation. What I do see the bible teaching is that we are responsible for helping our brothers and sisters in Christ whenever they are in need, but in today 's church I see them mostly neglected for the sake of the poor and needy outside the church. This is not the biblical model.