Lead with generosity. Follow with faithful stewardship.
That’s the message Caleb Barrows and Nate Hamblin, pastors of Neighborhood Church, are teaching their congregation in Adrian, Michigan. Some might think that would be a tough sell in this asset-limited community. But not with Neighborhood Church. In one weekend alone, this group of 50-60 people gave over $5,000 to a local homeless ministry, provided $300 to fill back-to-school backpacks, and loaded three coolers with meat for a congregation member in need.
It started with an opportunity to furnish a room for Neighbors of Hope, a local ministry serving the hungry, homeless, and addicted. They recently acquired a facility to provide housing for homeless women and children and were looking for room sponsors—to the tune of $2,500 per room. “A member of Neighborhood Church came forward with funds and asked me if he could give to Neighbors of Hope through our church,” says Nate. “ We decided to throw the opportunity out to the congregation to see if we could get people to match those funds.”
That was Friday. On Saturday, Nate received a message from another church member. “This couple has been struggling a long time. They have come out of the drug culture and are trying to do things right,” says Nate. “For them, it’s a real act of daily trust. They told me they had custody of their children for the week but nothing in their cupboards to feed them. They could take care of some basics through local pantries, but the children needed meat. I threw it out to our NC Facebook group to see if anyone had any extra meat in their freezers they would be willing to give.”
Keep in mind that the next day, Sunday, was already a date Neighborhood Church had decided to give all cash and check offerings to purchase school supplies for their Labor Day weekend school supply give away. “Typically in a month,” says Nate, “we receive about $7,500 in local offerings. But on this one Sunday, every single need was met—and then some.”
With the contributions for Neighbors of Hope, Neighborhood Church could furnish not one room, but two! They gave enough money to provide school supplies for 130+ children and still managed to stuff a freezer full of meat. “We almost couldn’t get all the meat in their freezer! Here is this asset-limited group that blessed the socks off a struggling family,” says Nate. “It was such a great reminder of how God provides.”
The message of generosity has carried over to church finances as well. “In the past year,” says Nate, “we gave away more money than we spent on our facility. We contributed to the West Africa and Basque initiatives, and we gave to local, gospel-centered ministries. But God still met all of our needs.” To learn more about Neighborhood Church, visit their website at www.ncadrian.com.