Operation Generosity at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Macomb, IL has been a gratifying project. The foundation of Operation Generosity came about as a donor approached me and confirmed a large gift would be coming to the church. The amount was $125K. Over the course of the last 10 years, the church has spent a great deal of capital on its building. It seemed as if a new idea might be needed.
I have been blessed by the book Love Let Go by Laura Sumner Truax and Amalya Campbell. These authors share the stories of 2 Chicago churches who decided to give away large amounts of money they received. Upon our conversation, I asked the donor to read the book. Ultimately, the donor gave the donation with no strings attached and wanted leadership to decide the destiny of the $125K. The book was made available to board and trustee chairs. One person voiced some small concerns, but the four leaders decided to take the idea of giving the money away to the trustees. The trustees heard a presentation on Love Let Go and affirmed the idea. The next step was to make the same presentation to the elders who were enthusiastically supportive. A joint meeting between these two leadership groups as well as board members led to an official vote in mid-October of the board. It was unanimously decided that this generous donation would be given away in our community.
The suggestion of leadership teams was to give the money away in two processes. The first was to write a $500 check to all active participants of the congregation. We tried very hard to insure all would be able to participate in Operation Generosity. The second phase is for the church to use the remaining funds in the community. After the first of the year, we will begin to consider all the possibilities.
Few stipulations seemed necessary for the first phase of Operation Generosity. We did create these guidelines:
- Please use the money in McDonough County
- Please leave a business card with your donation/s
- Please feel free to partner with other FCC folks.
- A report is expected from you to learn how you shared your gift.
- Donations should be given and reports finalized by January 1, 2022.
- If you choose not to participate, please return your check to the church. FCC is not to be the recipient of Operation Generosity gifts.
Great stories are emerging as people are sharing Operation Generosity Funds. The animal shelter has received funds from more than one of our members. A childcare facility for the underserved in our community has received gifts. Our folks are over-tipping wait staff and buying for those behind them in drive-thrus. Organizations who provide for the needs of the poor and homeless are receiving monies to provide food and shelter. One person approached a pre-school and asked if a single mother might be struggling to pay; that debt was covered. Contributions to our high school theater department and newly formed e-sports team have been made. International students at our local university come here with only a suitcase or two, sleeping on floors and in need of basic necessities. Some of our members are helping these students.
One of our church members has written a few books. She is putting the reports together that we might have a record of all our Operation Generosity giving. We are hopeful for what Operation Generosity might mean in our community, especially at this time of the year and at this point in the pandemic. Mostly, we are hopeful that participating in Operation Generosity will deeply affect all of us, creating a spirit of generosity in all of us individually and, corporately, as Christ’s church.
Reverend Kelly Ingersoll has had the privilege to serve as the Senior Minister of First Christian Church (DOC) in Macomb for the last 9+ years and is pleased to share the story of Operation Generosity. He would be glad to answer questions and can be reached at [email protected] or 3098376473.