Different ministry partners are featured during Micah 6:8 weekends when all proceeds are given directly to the partners. Attendees can designate their giving to a specific ministry.
Christ Community Chapel is tapping into the “organic generosity” of its people with a unique giving opportunity.
Four Sundays a year, the Hudson, OH, congregation gives away 100% of the offering from its four campuses to local and global causes such as orphanages, hospitals, and ministries that free children from sex trafficking.
“For whatever reason, this has inspired our people to give more all around,” says Christ Community pastor Joe Coffey. “We’ve tapped into a different kind of generosity, and it inherently increases the trust people have in our leadership.
“People get pumped when they hear we’re going to give away all our money from one week’s offering with no strings attached.”
Through six instances of giving its entire weekly offering to designated causes—a campaign the church calls “Micah 6:8 Sundays”—Christ Community has taken in and given away more than $2.7 million. Amazingly, the church’s giving on those weeks averages two to three times more than a normal Sunday.
For the first-ever Micah 6:8 Sunday in 2012, the congregation with average weekly offerings of $120,000 at the time gave an astounding $900,000. Much of that offering went to Destiny Rescue, a ministry that rescues children from the sex slave trade around the world. Part of the offering went to orphanages in Africa and an adoption fund was set up to help people in our congregation adopt children. So far, Christ Community has helped 8 children get adopted.
One recipient of Micah 6:8 funds, Hospital Shalom in Guatemala, has become a leading hospital in the country, thanks to Christ Community’s donations for hospital infrastructure.
Each week, Destiny Rescue, Christ Community’s first Micah 6:8 ministry recipient, lists the number of children rescued from sexually abusive situations.
“We did it for the life of people in our church, for their spiritual vitality, because giving is such a heart issue,” Joe says. “We think it’s having a profound impact on becoming a generous church, and our people are giving more than they ever have.” The church’s Micah 6:8 weeks now generate an average of $1.2 million to $1.5 million each.
Two things inspired Joe to move his church to start with two giveaway days a year that have grown into three (actually sometimes we do 3 and sometimes we do 4) per year.
First, a church planter that Christ Community helped launch told Joe about giving away one week’s offering to help after the earthquake in Haiti. “I remember thinking, ‘Boy, it would be great to be that agile and be able to do that,’ “Joe says. “ Then I was thinking that every church has 52 offerings and that’s 1/52 of giving for everybody, no matter how much it is.”
Micah 6:8 Sundays were then prompted by Joe talking to his friend, Sam Tushabe, who runs orphanages in five countries in Africa, and had come to the U.S. to raise money. “He was going coast to coast, sleeping in his car and raising money for his orphanages,”
Joe introduced his friend to Christ Community, and used a bucket prop from his sermon that day to ask people to support the orphanages. “People were lined up after the third service, and I thought they were lined up to talk to me,” Joe says. “But they wanted to give. People were crying and emptied their wallets of $10,000 in cash that day.”
Hospital Shalom offers various outpatient needs, pediatric and surgical care to some of the most poverty stricken areas in Central America and opened a prosthetics lab in 2014.
Joe explains the “48 weeks for us, and four weeks for somebody else” like this to his predominantly white-collar church: Giving to the church’s general fund is like investing in a mutual fund. “You don’t know specifically where it goes, but you believe overall it’s a good one,” he says. But the designated Micah 6:8 Sundays are like “individual stocks…wait for one that hits your heart and buy,” Joe says.
To get to the place that Christ Community could give away two weeks of offering without crashing the church’s budget, Joe challenged a friend to donate enough from his foundation that Christ Community could pay off loans and finish buying its property. “That reduction in expenses would free up two Sundays easy,” Joe says. In return, Joe offered to take out a $2.7 million life insurance policy payable to the foundation.
“It took me a year to convince him,” Joe says. “Finally he called and said ‘I’m in…and you don’t have to take out a life insurance policy.’ “
Joe advises church leaders who would consider doing something similar to start small—with one giveaway offering a year. And he would counsel a church to start by asking an individual with strong financial resources and a vision for justice and mercy ministries to donate the amount it takes to cover one week of offerings.
“Challenge them to help you unleash other people’s generosity,” Joe says. “Tell them, ‘Give me a way to inspire people to give to justice and mercy. Don’t make me inspire them to give to a debt reduction campaign. Don’t make me do it for a building. There is nothing less inspiring.
“Help me do it for this, and step back and watch what God does.”
Giving Stronger Than Ever
Joe remembers well the days of his church living week-to-week, offering-to-offering and remembers the first thought that popped in his mind that would trouble many of his colleagues. “Most pastors, like me, will think, ‘That offering we gave away was awesome, but what will next week look like?’ “
In Christ Community’s experience, giving on the weeks after a Micah 6:8 Sunday is strong. In fact, the church’s overall giving is up 10-12% since starting the designated Sundays. Missions giving has increased from $500,000 to over $2 million/year. And that was all during a time when one building project was completed, and another got underway.
“We’re giving away more than we ever have, and we’re better off financially than we’ve ever been.”
Andy Williams contributed to the writing of this report.