Last weekend was an incredible experience at our church. We launched a new series called Made for More that will take us through the week after Easter. At the end of each service we did a “reverse-offering” and gave out an envelope to each person containing either a $20, $50, or $100 bill. If you are trying to do the math, that’s about $180k between our five campuses! The goal was to spark a flame of generosity among our people. We asked each attender to use their envelope to bless someone around them this week and then share their story with others at www.CentralAZ.com/MadeforMore. Around our church we often talk about the fact that “there is more to life than me” and this has been a terrific way for us to live that out.
Here is an example of how one of our families blessed someone:
Title: “The whole enchilada!”
While visiting my family in Arizona, I attended the Saturday March 9th service in Gilbert. Not only was I welcomed whole heartily, but the praise and sermon was amazing! THEN! Out of left field, Cal announced that the offering was making its way through….one more time! But there is a catch! YOU take an envelope out, and do NOT open it until you get to your car…??!! WHAT?! A CHURCH THAT IS GIVING ME MONEY?!?!?! Cal said that there was either a $20, $50, or $100 inside your envelope. REALLY!?!?! WA-HOO!!! “Here is your challenge,” Cal, said….
After service, our family went to dinner at Si Senor. After a wait for our table, we were hungry and still giddy about “rocking someone’s world!” There were 7 of us… a rowdy & loving party!!
Our waitress, a middled aged woman, whose eyes showed many years of hard work, took very good care of us. A family who is blessed in so many ways. A family who is still learning & growing. A family, whose time apart from each other is much too long… A family who when we get together, can be a tad bit unleashed! (In a positive and loving way!)
She had many tables…many folks she was taking care of. After our meal, we paid our check, she retuned to the table and my Aunt started. She handed our waitress $20. Explained what Cal said during service. Our waitress was really pleased! Then… my cousin stopped her. Thanked her, and handed her the $20 that was in her envelop! She didn’t know what to think! You guessed it… the next one in our group told her thank you for taking care of us, and she handed her the $20 from her envelope. She was litterally speechless! Next, me… I too, thanked her and said thank you, and gave her my $20! Lastly, my Uncle told her thank you for taking care of us, and he handed her his $20!! She began crying and thanked us all so much.
This was a beautiful thing to witness… truly a sweet moment in time. I know I will be back to worship with you all again soon, as I will be back to see my family very soon! Thank you for this wonderful memory!
Here is an example of one of the stories from the perspective of a person who was blessed by someone from Central:
TItle: “How I have felt love from a church I’ve never attended”
I am a hairstylist and recieved an envelope with 75 dollars from one of your followers as a tip today. I want everyone to know how much this touches my heart. I myself am a single mother and struggle very much throughout the year trying to make ends meet. Currently I have been blessed and every dollar counts but Im going to pay this forward instead of keeping it for myself. To me my family is the most important, Just today I said to someone ” All that matters in my life is to love and be loved” and so Im going to spend it on my unborn niece whos mother will be raising her by herself, along with my nefew and other niece. Thank you, this was something amazing that you all did, Hopefully I can get some time to check out a service because this was truely ginuwine and thats something that does not happen often.
The truly exciting part of all of this is that you don’t have to have been a part of this weekend with us in order to be inspired by the stories and to get engaged yourself. The opportunities for generosity are all around us.