I was reading this week about a minister in the States who was promoting an event at his church called ‘Big Surprise Sunday’. He kept the congregation in suspense for four weeks. One member of the church asked if they were having a guest speaker. Another asked if they were having a party. One even had a dream that Justin Bieber was coming to sing with the church choir. But the actual surprise – the church was giving each member $20 with which they were to go out and try to make a difference.
The minister organising the event said… “No matter what they did, I wanted the people who came to church, to think that being a Christian isn’t something that happens just by coming to church and sitting in a pew every Sunday,” He said. “If we just go home and forget about church until the next week, that isn’t making a difference and being a good, active Christian.”

When he started giving the money away…everyone was stunned. No one moved or made a sound.

Some members added it to their weekly offering and gave it back to the church or the youth group. One woman took the $20 to buy ingredients for pumpkin rolls and pies to sell and has since quadrupled the funds. Three young sisters pooled their money together and bought school supplies for needy children. An enterprising young woman garnered more donations from family and her employer and donated the total to a local non-profit. Still others gave their money to the local food bank or the Meals on Wheels program.

Barbara Longwell was at first conflicted about what to do with her money. Then one day at the local supermarket counter, she saw a woman buying a few slices of ham and a few slices of cheese, with instructions to the clerk that her order could not exceed five dollars. Realizing that the woman was struggling financially, Longwell used her $20 to buy a grocery store gift card and gave it to her.

“I thought, here’s a local person on a fixed income who is obviously struggling a little bit,” Longwell said. “It felt good that I could do that for this lady, even though I felt like I would have liked to have done more.”

So the story got me thinking…I wondered if we could do something similar…would that be a good idea?

But what if instead of giving you money to give away…I gave you time to spend. I wonder how you could use it to make a difference.

Have some different periods of times written down on small cards or pieces of paper ranging from 5 mins to 24 hours. Hand these out to the children and various members of the congregation. Use the following Sunday to see how people spent their time.

Happy spending!

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