On a recent Sunday, members of Bay Community Church each were given envelopes stuffed with cash. Inside was $20, $40 or $100.
No ordinary handout, the $50,000 gesture was billed as a “faith stimulus.” Church members were told to spend it helping others, a novel approach to religious outreach during tough economic times.
The pastor of an Alabama Church called it a “Faith Stimulus Package.” The recipients may call it a miracle. Bay Community Church in Malbis, Ala., gave away $50,000 to its parishioners.
Instead of asking its members for donations, the trustees of Bay Community doled out cash. Each of the church’s 2,000 congregants walked away with an envelope containing between $20 to $100.
But there’s a catch; the cash is not for them.
Along with various amounts of cash, the envelopes contained instructions to “turn around and bless someone.”
“The instructions were simple, you can’t give it back to the church and you can’t spend it on you and your family,” Associate Senior Pastor Trey Taylor told WALA-TV. Taylor masterminded the plan to spread goodness and cash during tough economic times.
The generous reverse-tithe took some parishioners by surprise. Many in the congregation broke out their wallets, thinking that the 2,000 white envelopes making their way down the pews were a request for extra tithing.
But the cash in the envelopes was destined not for the clergy, nor for the parishioners themselves but for needy people who likely don’t belong to Bay Community.
“The reason behind it was simple. We wanted our people to turn around and bless somebody,” Taylor said.
It’s not the first time something like this has been done. In 2007, an Ohio pastor made news by handing $50 to each of his parishioners with the instruction to use their talents to double the money.
The difference: the Ohio parishioners donated the over $30,000 they raised back to the church. Taylor just asks they spend it on others.