Earlier this year, I was scrambling. We were hitting crunch time to do a lot of fundraising in a short amount of time to send the kids in our congregation to church camp. I had only become Children’s Pastor in November and I decided right away that camp needed a priority… but with a small church, how could we get all these kids there?
While for most churches, things like t shirts, calendars, wrapping paper, big dinners, and things of that nature are an obvious option, we did not have the luxury of a budget to go that route. I needed an idea that would be free or cheap to start up, with no overhead so that in the end all that was raised would go directly to the fund it was being raised for.
We were going to need something different than the usual. I had a few of the girls in our church over one day just to hang out and we got to talking.
What else could we do?
One of the girls mentioned a Jog A Thon that her school had just done. It had been successful and raised quite a bit of money for science camp. I replied, “Yeah, but I don’t think we could do much with that in this situation… Those are fun though. I always liked read a thons when I was a kid.” Then it was like the light bulb hit us both at the same time:
Um, I would list cons except, well, there aren’t any!
I know you’re saying it because before I decided for sure myself to approach the leadership of my church with this idea I wrestled it all out.
Then I realized… We’re not actually PAYING the KIDS. Yeah, they benefit by what the money is raised towards, but no one is actually handing them money. In fact, we are teaching them to build a habit of reading the Bible every day. We are helping them plant those seeds in their hearts. The elders and families of the congregation are encouraging the kids and youth to build a stronger relationship with the Lord!
Two months later, I FINALLY decided to go through with our Bible Read A Thon. I drew up forms and handed them out. Shani put information in our church bulletins that the kids would be looking for sponsors to pledge towards an amount per scripture/chapter/book and that the amount could be capped out. (For younger children, we did per Bible story from a Bible story book. (And that could be read to them by a parent or older sibling.)
Now for the tricky part… There had to be proof that they actually did the reading they said they did… There were options…
Spiritually speaking? Of course! Bibles were being read and hearts were growing! I believe it paid off more in what was read than what was raised. You can’t go wrong with Bible reading!
Financially? Considering how small of a group we had that participated, yes. Definitely. In fact, most of our money for camp was raised in a short amount of time from this fundraiser!
The timing. Because we were in a time crunch and had so many different projects going at one time, I was too distracted to realize I ran this fundraiser during finals. Believe me, my oldest son let me know plenty of times that my timing was terrible. The kids were still reading, but had it been done during a different time they could have read a lot more.
I also would have made better forms. At the time, I was trying out a different Office software than the usual good ol’ Microsoft. I didn’t realize all the formatting issues I would have when it came to print. Simpler would have been better as well. The forms I made were printed on card stock, and I am still very happy with that decision. Those forms went through a lot by the time the fundraiser was over.
Feel free to download this template for your own church’s Bible Read A Thon. You will still have to attach cover letters to both your pledge form and reading logs to explain them, but maybe this can cut out one step for you or give you some ideas to format your own… Speaking of which, if you have any ideas to add to this, please let me know!
Faithfulness. We have come to expect God to be faithful to us. To bless us. To keep us. To protect us. To provide our needs. He is always faithful. I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging bread.
But what do you do to show your faithfulness to God? We live in a day and time where everything is in a “hurry up” mode. More and more people are forsaking the assembly of each other in a church setting. I know that our church is not the only one who has several so called “members”, who seem to only come when they “feel” like it, or need something. I’m sure Jesus didn’t “feel” like going to the cross for me or you. He knew what He was going to go through. But His love for us out-weighed His physical situation.
We go to movies, ballgames, parties, etc., and sit for hours sometimes, but then say that church takes too long? There is something terribly wrong with that picture. Then there are those who show up just to say they went, then leave early. Sometimes before the preacher ever begins his message. To me, this is rude. Disrespectful to God, the pastor, and short cutting your spirit. I know that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, but it helps to feed your spirit and get a renewal of His Spirit.
“Lord, forgive me and help me to not forsake You and Your presence. I don’t want to take for granted the opportunity that You have given me to come before You, with my brothers and sisters in You. Help me to be faithful to You as You have ALWAYS been faithful to me.”
I believe that he knew what he was talking about, because you can not come up with a statement like this without first, going through some pain.
Anyone who knows me, knows that once I start crying, I can not stop. I’m a crier… Not little cries, but the sloppy, messy, runny nose, ugly cries. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I put up a wall so that others can’t get close enough to hurt me. I don’t deal with it very well.
Anyone who has been a Christian very long can tell you that Christians are mean. Plain and simple. Most of the time, they mean well, but don’t realize that actions speak louder than words and the hurt and pain is very real. Church hurt is the worst hurt.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my brothers and sisters in Christ deeply. Sometimes, they have no clue what they have said or done. That is why we must forgive quickly. If I held a grudge, God would hold me accountable.
When I feel hurt or disappointed, the tears come. Not because I’m mad or angry, but because it has to cleanse my heart of the pain it felt.
It was once said, “Your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.”
If I’m able to help someone else who is hurting or has been hurt, it will be worth it. It’s all gonna be worth it in the end anyways…
So, it’s OK to cry. I always feel better after it’s washed away anyways…
Psalms 51:10 says, “create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Let God wash away the hurt so that your spirit doesn’t suffer. The feeling of renewal is refreshing.
I visited a local church last night for a benefit singing (I had a wonderful time!) and the congregation was made up of people from many different churches, all gathered under one roof. There was a sweet presence of the Lord in that place and a friend of mine (also from my church) looked at me and made the comment, “Ya know, if all the churches would just come together in unity, there wouldn’t be a devil in hell that could put a stop to us.” So true! The Bible calls for love and unity, one mind and one accord.
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”- Psalm 133:1
But here’s the problem, we can’t even find that under one church roof alone, much less expect it from more than one congregation of churches.
When it comes to one church, the members within don’t live in true unity as they should, creating discord and division through backbiting/gossip/etc. And instead of supporting fellow Christians through love and encouragement, churches tend to separate themselves and have a “We’re better than you are” mentality. Meaning, if you don’t go to our church, you might as well not even be a child of God. No, this isn’t how we want to be, but how the devil wants us to be. Satan would love to drive a wedge between all of God’s children because he knows what we are capable of if we live in one mind and one accord. It scares him (and it should!).
In reality, we should be able to all come together with pure worship for the God that created us all . When we get to heaven, the church that we went to will not matter, but our relationships with the Lord and others will. Once we become determined to unite as the body of Christ (like He called for us to) within our own church, it will be natural for the Church in general to join together as the body of Christ. And there really wouldn’t be a devil in hell that could put a stop to us!
“Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”- Ecclesiastes 4:12
Ready to challenge the devil? Embrace your brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter where they choose to attend church services. Go even further than that and embrace those who have not yet entered in to the salvation and freedom of Christ, and encourage them to do so. Satan really, really hates that!