A popular church in Columbia, Maryland uses tithe offerings to buy cars for members.
Thanks to this surprising “act of generosity”, some selected members of Destiny Church received five vehicles, free of charge, after Sunday service on March 4, 2018.
In an interview with The Christian Post, the lead Pastor Stephen Chandler of the church, founded in 2011, explains the reasons for the giveaway.
He says the cars were the church’s way of celebrating its move into a permanent worship space, having previously been using a school gymnasium.
“One of our founding values as a church is that ‘We Are Outrageously Generous,’ and we strive to live that out in everything we do,” said Chandler.
“We wanted to mark the celebration with an act of generosity that overshadowed the great blessing of the building we received. Acts 20:35 says that it is better to give than to receive and that has truly turned out to be the case.”
The senior pastor further explains the giveaway which he says was meant to “let our community know that we at Destiny Church loved them and more importantly, that God loved them.”
“The greatest satisfaction at the end of each service was watching people leave, and them realizing that whether they won a car or not, there truly were no strings attached.
“We did not want anything from them, simply to demonstrate love towards them. If through this day people were able to hear that God’s love for them was not too good to be true, then we believe it was an overwhelming success.”
On using tithe to buy cars
Pastor Chandler said that the vehicles were bought at a used car dealership with ten percent of the money donated to the Church through tithing.
He explains: “Because generosity has always been a focus at Destiny Church, from our inception, we adopted the practice to set aside ten percent of all that we receive.
“These funds are for the purpose of generosity, missions, benevolence, and outreach and have been used over the years to plant churches both internationally and domestically, partner with great non-profit organizations, help those in need locally, and generally share the love of Christ outside of our walls. Part of this year’s generosity budget was used to purchase these vehicles.”
Four members and a family in need received a Chevy Cruze, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, Ford Escape and a Dodge Journey through a raffle system. Over 2,000 tickets were given away.
The giveaway has received mixed reactions. Critics say the church is trying to get new members by bribing them with materialistic things.
“It’ a stretch. But I mean, if that’s what it takes nowadays — in the new age, you gotta come up with some kind of gimmick or incentive or whatever,” said Angella Cole, a nurse who works in Baltimore. “It’s a good way to get people’s attention. Should they do this every week? I doubt it.”
However, fellow senior pastor, David Anderson of a nearby church says it is a “wonderful thing to do” for a grand opening.
“I respect Pastor Chandler and the innovative ministry they have built,” he adds.
What are your thoughts on this?