Many of you are familiar with the parable of the talents. Essentially God entrusts us with things, and we diligently care for and use those things. Maybe it’s a knack for making pies. Maybe it’s a boatload of cash. Or maybe it’s a job as a dermatologist. But we then take those things and use them faithfully. That’s what Reynoldsburg United Methodist is asking its members to do. And they gave them $67,000 to do it.
Churches have given away money before. Reverse offerings have been done by plenty of churches, and at the surface, it seems like Reynoldsburg United Methodist is doing the same thing.
But here’s where they were different; in Elevation Church’s reverse offering, you weren’t allowed to give it back to the church. In Reynoldsburg’s, you had to. Here’s what the Columbus Dispatch said about it:
The challenge began in April. The Rev. Jeff Greenway used $67,000 loaned by some church families and distributed $50 to adults and $10 to children, challenging them to use their talents to turn the money into something larger.
The $117,500 ultimately collected was enough to repay the families who provided the startup money, while generating $50,500 more for charity. That amount is being divided and distributed to four causes to help people locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
And here was one of my favorite stories. Perhaps I have an affinity for little old ladies, or she reminds me of the widow’s mite.
At the Reynoldsburg church in April, congregant Karen Howald sat and listened, and accepted the $50 inside an envelope.
“The thing that ran through my mind was, ‘The only thing I can do at my age is make a pie,’ ” the 81-year-old recalled this week.
So the pie lady, as she is known, got to work in her kitchen, making the crust by hand, as she always does, and baking 58 pies, which she sold for $10 each. She wound up donating $500, after she kept $80 for her expenses. Her blackberry pies were the most popular.
What a great way to market your church, impact the world and strengthen your bond with your community. Just goes to show that sometimes the best marketing ideas don’t involve Twitter, Facebook or shocking campaigns. Great ideas still come from the original church marketing manual.