What would you think if you walked into a church off the street and found out they were beginning a big capital campaign that Sunday? The first thing that would probably go through your head was “How much money are they asking for and how long is the pastor going to drone on about how much I should give?” What if, instead of asking for money, the church passed around offering plates and asked you to take some out?
As strange as it sounds, that’s exactly what Elevation Church did this past Sunday to start their Dominate campaign.
So we kicked off the whole campaign by giving away $40,000 to our people yesterday. Yes, you heard me correctly: We began our first ever capital campaign by giving away roughly the equivalent of our 2007 weekly offering average. Every adult got an envelope with either $5, $10, $20, $50, or $100. And one participant in each of our five worship experiences actually received $1000.
The instructions were simple:
Take this money and use it to bless someone beyond yourself. You can’t give it back to the church. And let us know what you did with it.
We set up a site at www.blessbackproject.com for people to tell their stories, and they are pouring in indeed.
It’s turning out to be quite a powerful experiment. I think people were shocked by the concept to begin with, and even more surprised that we didn’t even take up even our regular offering, or any offering at all this Sunday, on the first week of a capital campaign.
Our goal wasn’t to be gimmicky. In fact, it’s quite a sacrifice and a bit of a risk for a church as young as Elevation to pull this off. It puts us in a difficult short term cash position to say the least.
But I’m praying God will honor this exercise of faith and radical gesture of generosity to our city, and embed a DNA of generosity deep down into our culture that will spread throughout this city like a wildfire.
For skeptics: Does this change any of your preconceptions about church and Christians in general?
For Christians: Is this something more churches should be doing?