Envelope Challenge Impacts Community One Person at a Time
We all want to make a difference, and, as a church, we believe the best way to do that is to live like Jesus did—loving people one at a time.
Earlier this year, at the conclusion of a special service during the One at a Time sermon series, each family received an envelope. Most contained $20, others $50 or $100. The money—from a special fund set aside to love and care for people in our community—wasn’t given to those in attendance. Rather, it was entrusted to them for God to do His work through them.
Senior Pastor Kyle Idleman challenged those who received an envelope “to be the Church, to reach out and care for someone.” He asked that they would pray that God would give them eyes to see those needing help and encouragement and for the money to make an impact in their lives.
They also were asked to connect their gift with Jesus. That could mean sharing their testimony, including a note with Scripture or an invitation to church, or simply letting the person know they were praying for them.
Finally, as a way to glorify God and to inspire others, those receiving an envelope were asked to share how He worked through them on Southeast’s new 1X App.
Stephanie Feger wrote that her family matched the $50 in their envelope so they could make bags that include necessities such as socks, toothbrushes, water bottles, and snacks to have on hand to give to the homeless.
“It filled our hearts to give in this way!” she wrote.
Sherry Whitehouse shared that as she sat in church and opened her envelope, she immediately prayed about whom to give the money.
“My best friend sat beside me, and her name continued to come to my heart,” she wrote. “At the end of service, I handed her the $20 and said, ‘God bless you.’ She began to tear up…She texted me after church and said she was short $20 on her water bill this month and it was due tomorrow.”
Doug Cohron shared how on his way to church the Sunday the envelopes were handed out he stopped at a McDonald’s. Making small talk with an employee, he asked how her day was going, only to learn that her vehicle had broken down the week before and she had driven her husband’s truck to work that morning. She added that the truck was leaking antifreeze and hadn’t gotten warm until she had arrived at work.
“I prayed on the way to church that she would be able to get her vehicle fixed at little to no cost to her and that God would have His hand in whatever was needed for her,” Doug wrote.
When he opened his envelope containing $20, Doug knew who it was meant for and that he was to add to it. After church, he stopped at an ATM. Out of service, he went to another ATM, only for his debit card not to work. Determined to answer God’s call, he successfully visited a third ATM, before heading back to the McDonald’s.
“In my 54 years, I’ve never had a prayer answered as loud, direct, and as quick as I did this morning,” Doug wrote.
Southeast was blessed to receive a letter from a woman who was given a card with $100.
“It was quite a surprise as I have never attended service at your church,” she wrote. “It was also an encouraging blessing. After being out of work for three weeks, I was struggling to find money for food and other essentials.”
The woman shared that she struggles with effects of past trauma, but, because of Jesus, is able to face those battles.
“I refuse to sell Him out to fit in, and it makes life harder,” she wrote. “I believe that temporary discomfort is more than worth it if it means eternal rewards, however.”
During that special service earlier this year, Southeast families were challenged to be the Church. They responded by sharing the love of Jesus with many in our community in need of it.
To read more stories of hope and encouragement, click here.