Wednesday, August 20, 2008

$750K given away at Clyde Church

Looks like I don't have to come up with the words after all! Here they are written by someone else. Of course this article won't make you cry your head off (like I did) like if you had been in the service, but it's still good.

You should really go to the Abilene Reporter News website and read all the comments about the article! It's awesome!!!!


Congregation doles out money, good to those in need

By Scott Kirk

Special to the Reporter-News

A nondenominational church that meets in a junior high started a "giving epidemic" Sunday that led to about $750,000 in cash and goods being given away during the worship service.

Brandon Hawk admits his route to becoming senior pastor of Kingdom Life Fellowship in Clyde has been unusual. Perhaps it should be expected that a sermon about giving should be unusual as well.

"We felt God was calling us to give," said Hawk, a retired professional tennis player. And give the church did.

The church had accumulated a nest egg of about $320,000 over its annual budget of $338,000. That money was given away Sunday to church members who had financial need.

But that's not all.

People handed their tithes to other people who had needs. Cars were given; even a business was handed over.

"We gave over our budget," said Hawk. "It was the single greatest moment by far I've ever experienced in church. We want to start a giving epidemic."

On Sunday, people who had dire needs, ranging from keeping their homes to putting food on the table, were asked to come forward. Then people who had pressing needs were asked to come forward, and instead of collecting tithes from the members, those people were asked to give their tithe to a person in need.

No questions were asked, and no judgments made as money was given to pay off credit cards and college loans.

"We can't make that judgment," said Hawk. "In Acts, there's the passage that no one lacked."

Finally, about $20,000 was distributed to people just to do something enjoyable.

"If you had never gone to Dillard's and bought a red dress, go do it," said Hawk. "Go to a nice restaurant and leave a big tip. God not only takes care of our needs but also our desires. We really wanted to touch on God's goodness."

Hawk admits that he doesn't know how much was actually given because the process was ongoing. He thinks a conservative estimate is $750,000. And this from a congregation of a little more than 300 and mostly blue-collar folks.

"I know this: You can't outgive God," Hawk said.

He said Sunday's experience was a natural extension of what has been preached.

"We feel called to transform our city, and you do that by transforming people," he said. "We want to transform this city into one God would be proud, one that's free of mass addictions and poverty. We say: 'Give, pray, love.' Give means to meet the physical needs. Pray meets the spiritual needs, and love meets the emotional needs. A lady may need a roof on her house, but she may also have a broken heart. You have to try to meet both needs. How can we ask our members to give sacrificially if corporately we're not willing to give sacrificially?"

Hawk repeatedly said the service was not held to boost membership or to grab headlines.

"This is for the advancement of God," he said. "God's love changed my life. This is to transform our city. I'm passionate about Clyde, America."

In case any cynic is wondering, the plan is to do this again.

"We're hoping this becomes the norm," Hawk said.

The church meets at 10 a.m. Sundays in the Clyde Junior High auditorium, according to its Web site.

Correction: The church's Web site is wrong. Members meet at 10:45 a.m. Sundays

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