Not long ago, Doug and Haley Mims, pastors at Generation Church in Mt Laurel, needed to make a decision about how to advertise their growing church.
With their $7,500, they had enough to post signs or put up billboards, but instead, the two decided to let their congregation do the advertising for them.
“We were just talking about it one day, and we said, ‘We don’t need to advertise,’” Haley said. “The best way to advertise is to give to the community. Doug and I can’t do it alone. We need every person to reach out.”
Sept. 13, in honor of Generation Church’s one-year anniversary, the Mims gave everyone in the sanctuary — 140 people — envelopes filled with cash and told them to go spread Christ’s love in their own way. Adults received $50 in their envelopes, while teenagers received $25.
“You can help someone with a power bill or whatever,” Doug said. “You can walk in and pay for your gas and the pump next to yours.”
Doug said the idea was the perfect way to spread the message he’s been preaching — that the church isn’t just four walls and an hour on Sunday morning.
“Don’t go to church. Be the church,” Doug said. “We’re not saved because of works, we’re saved to work. That should be the philosophy of the church, and oftentimes, it’s not.”
Brian Hardenbergh, a member of the church board of trustees, said once the board heard of the plan, they approved it with no qualms.
“It’s one of those things, so many people feel like they don’t have the money or the opportunity to bless other people,” he said. “It wasn’t much money, but just to give them something and to give them the opportunity to experience that was neat.”
Michael Mathews, a church member, said he plans to let God guide him in how to use the money he was given.
“If I’m out somewhere and I see someone that I am led to give that money to them, then that’s what I’m going to do,” he said. “Just let them know you’re not out here by yourself. There is someone who cares.”
Doug said he just wants to see his congregation actively engage with Christ’s love.
“There’s a church on every corner, so there shouldn’t be a family that has a need,” he said. “There just shouldn’t.”