Not Just Another Fund-Raiser
In the spring of 2007 Pastor Foster told the youth team about a bicycle ride that the district youth committee had been discussing.
It was going to last two days and cover two hundred miles. He briefly covered what had been said about training and the thought that went through my head was, “which youth committee member could actually ride two hundred miles.” After some very intense research Pete Chickering and I bought bikes and equipment to begin training for the Sheaves For Christ Bicycle Tour.
As I discussed the endeavor with Pastor Foster he told me that God would bless our sacrifice, which to me at the time meant we were gonna get nice bikes and hopefully live to tell the two hundred mile story. Our first year we raised somewhere in the neighborhood of five hundred dollars, which was less than I had spent on equipment other than the bike. I was disappointed with the amount of support we had and when we talked with our wives they made it quite clear that writing two five hundred dollar checks would have been more effective.
The second year we rode less and raised almost double what we raised the first year, but it was still far less than we hoped to raise.
Although more was raised if we combined our earnings for the two years we were still far from seeing our investment returned. After the second year of riding and feeling the pain I was wondering why I had chosen to participate in this foolishness, and then began year three. As of March of this year our youth fund had reached one thousand four hundred dollars and it was time to give to Sheaves for Christ.
Faith In Action
The night of the Sheaves for Christ Kickoff Rally I asked Shana to write a check for five hundred dollars and the youth team standing around me looked at me like I was out of my mind. They trust me but it was a Youth Congress year and we were looking into doing as many fund-raisers as we could in order to pay for the kids to go. I explained to them that I felt that was the amount we should give. Within two months our youth fund had reached $2,500 and we had not done a fund-raiser. Unfortunately the bike tour was in June which hurt us two different ways. First of all it took the summer training season away but it also shortened the time we had to raise money. By the time the bike tour arrived the youth team decided that the money that we raised during our carwashes should go to Sheaves for Christ because it was clear we would not need the money for Youth Congress. So as Pete Chickering, Steve Abatangelo, and I rode in the third annual bike tour, the young people were washing cars to raise money with us. Unfortunately an accident prevented us from completing the full hundred mile ride, but it was decided sixty miles with a second degree shoulder separation was still respectable. As the ride ended I was nearly convinced that writing a check three years earlier would have been much less painful and may still have been cheaper.
The young people did three carwashes total for Sheaves for Christ and raised around $400 between them. The youth treasurer Megan would inform me every month how much was in the youth fund and Sheaves for Christ fund. Because I was aware of every fund-raiser, I knew what we were doing, but I did not know where the money was coming from. With excitement Megan would come to me and say, “Ken I do not know how but there is this much in the youth fund.”
To which I would respond, “Are you sure?” We shared this dialog several times and every time she would return with the same response, “that is right!” Youth Congress came and went and after not doing one fund-raiser, or asking any parents to give to the youth we still ended up with eight hundred dollars in the youth fund. Then it was time to give our final Sheaves for Christ offering. When I received the check to give I was amazed. With a bad economy, three car washes, and a bike wreck, we gave $3,500.
When I put the check in the envelope, Pastor’s words returned to my mind: “If you do this God will bless you.” He did! Not only had He returned my investment in a bike but He also paid for our every need this year and allowed us to give a record setting offering. In our calculation there was no way to pay for Youth Congress with what we raised at the carwashes, nor could we set a record with what we raised from a bike ride. When we gave God gave us more than we could have hoped for.