Church gives away Sunday offering

Published 12:23 pm Thursday, November 6, 2008

They gave it all away five years ago — or at least as much as a small, 35-member church like Mt. Signal Baptist in Chelsea could give. And they plan to do it again next week.

“I guess you would call it a spiritual gut check,” Pastor Leonard Irvin said. “We were struggling and so I said let’s just see how serious we are and challenged them to come up with an offering that we would give away.”

Members of Mt. Signal collected exactly $622.45 that Sunday.

It wasn’t a startling amount but it made an impact.

The church donated the money to Gardendale Baptist Church who was trying at the time to relocate. Two and a half months later, Gardendale invited Mt. Signal members to church and when the service was over donated almost $30,000 back to them.

“The pastor there at the time told the church, ‘They’re the big church and we’re the little church. They learned something I’ve been trying to teach you all for years — those who have very little will give everything.’ We were just floored,” Irvin said.

Mt. Signal poured most of that money back into ministry. The rest it used to pave its parking lot and finish repairs the building needed. Irvin and his congregation continued the theme by hosting a “Give It All Away” revival last year that raised $1,700. They added on an additional $1,300 and offered it to Mountain View Church, an upstart congregation now meeting in Chelsea Middle School.

This year’s Give It All Away revival is scheduled for Nov. 9–Nov. 11 at 7 each night. The guest speaker will be Al Worthington of Westover. Worthington played as a relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants and the Minnesota Twins. He said he began evangelizing after being saved in 1958.

“There was a preacher out there that I met when Billy Graham’s crusade came through. He took interest in me and didn’t let go of me until I was saved,” Worthington said.

Irvin first heard Worthington speak more than 50 years ago when he was just 13. He’s remembered him ever since.

“He’s always been a dynamic speaker … and is just a fine Christian man,” Irvin said. “He’s not too shy to evangelize either. He’d witness to a flock of goats if they would stand still long enough.”

Worthington said he feels called to talk to as many people as possible about the necessity of being saved.

“I talk to people every day if I leave my house,” Worthington said. “Unless a man is born again he cannot get to Heaven that is what Jesus said.”

Irvin hopes to see a spiritual change in someone’s life through the event. He and the congregation also hope to raise between $3,000 and $5,000 through revival offerings. The church plans to give all proceeds this year to the Shelby Baptist Association for the organizations food and clothing ministry and Christmas Gift Shop.