Like the master who gave talents to his servants in one of the parables Jesus told, five pastors loaded with $100 bills have distributed tens of thousands of dollars to church members in a city recovering from recent historic fires, a 2021 mass shooting and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rather than spending the money on personal needs, members of five churches in Boulder, Colorado, are tasked with praying about how to multiply the cash they received, then using the profits to bless their neighbors.
The pastors placed three conditions on members who accepted $100 bills from the churches—Calvary Bible, Vinelife, Boulder Valley Christian, Pinewood and Cornerstone—united by a coordinated effort to generously love, serve and bless the community.
"The money doesn't belong to you; it belongs to God," Pastor Luke Humbrecht told Vinelife Church members, quoting from Matthew 25. "You have 70 days to prayerfully and creatively multiply it and give it away. The last condition is that you share your story by April 10."
Within days of hearing about the initiative, called "Kingdom Assignment," a teenage girl at Cornerstone multiplied her $100 by hosting a party for friends who contributed cash and gifts totaling close to $9,000.
Anya Mulvaney received $4,500 in toy donations for children whose homes burned in the Marshall fire, a record 1,000 residences. She also collected $3,000 in cash donations and $900 from volunteer hours, said Cornerstone Pastor Brian Carlucci. The proceeds will go to people in need, especially families and individuals who lost everything in the fire.
Another Cornerstone member, Andy Zenz, bought $100 worth of art supplies in January. Then his family painted 12 canvases during a united worship service of all five churches at Vinelife. Zenz plans to sell the artwork, using the proceeds on families in need.
Calling the fires one of the greatest hardships in the history of Boulder, Carlucci reminded his congregation of Jesus' words about sorrow in the world and how events in their city have produced sadness for everybody.
A mass shooting at a Boulder grocery store that killed 10 people last year—along with the pandemic that began in 2020—marked the beginning of the area's sorrows.
"Most of us, we've never felt the truth of that verse more than we have in the last 24 months," Carlucci said in a video announcing "Kingdom Assignment."
"The trouble of this world [have] dominated our newsreels, permeated our conversations, disrupted our lives and even strained our relationships," Carlucci said in the video shot at another church, Boulder Valley Christian. The church has looked to God for comfort, wisdom and understanding, asking him what Cornerstone's role is in helping to heal the community.
At Calvary Bible Church, members have come alongside more than 80 families in Boulder, reminding them that they're not alone. The church is partnered with relief ministry Samaritan's Purse in ministering to vast needs.
"God loves them, and there's a church in town that cares about their needs," Pastor Thomas Milburn said. The church plans to spend $100,000 from its benevolence fund to resource and empower members in loving and blessing people impacted by the fire.
For pastors and members, dishing out money instead of collecting tithes and offerings is one paradox of Kingdom Assignment.
"We're not asking you to give; we're asking you to help give (money) away," Milburn said. "This is a tangible way for you to remind people who have suffered great loss that you are with them, your church cares about them, and that God loves them," he added.
Vinelife's Humbrecht introduced Kingdom Assignment to church members in a message titled "Fruitful Vineyard, Fertile Hill." View it at this link.
Pastors from five churches first met to pray and forge friendships in 2019, seeking God for his purposes in Boulder a few weeks before the pandemic started, Humbrecht said. "It was a tremendously helpful time to forge some new relationships as we (prepared) to navigate the challenges about to come," he said.
Since then, the pastors have gathered more than once to pray for one another, to share the Word of God and to hear what each believes is God doing in Boulder.
"To reach Boulder County, it's going to take more than Vinelife. It's going to take more than Cornerstone, Boulder Valley, Pinewood and all the churches I haven't even mentioned," Humbrecht said.
During their times of prayer and conversation, the pastors recognized the pandemic and other factors have produced "isolation, fear and shrinking back" among themselves and the people they lead.
"We sensed that God wants to catalyze his church once again to be a prayerful family on mission, boldly sowing seeds of hope across the land," Humbrecht said.
From praying and brainstorming together in November of last year—only weeks before wildfires engulfed homes and disrupted worship services—the pastors and their staff members settled on Kingdom Assignment as a united ministry initiative across Boulder. The pastors plan to share progress reports of supernatural multiplication of the initial $100 until April 10, when church members will share how their investments met real needs across Boulder.
Humbrecht's son, Noah, is another example of how young people can participate in Kingdom Assignment. A couple years ago, he learned to draw animals using YouTube, which his dad scanned and made into greeting cards.
"People loved them and messaged us from all over the city," Humbrecht said. "Noah ended up raising $700 that went to help animals at the Denver Zoo."
Another Spirit-birthed idea used in Kingdom Assignment is hosting baby showers for women who, through the support of pregnancy centers in Boulder County, find needed spiritual, emotional and financial support from experienced mothers.
Finally, an inspired boy in Boulder bought $20 worth of equipment to pick up animal waste from private property, asking for donations from his neighbors. With his significant earnings, the boy blessed people with needs.
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Steve Rees is a former general assignment reporter who, with one other journalist, first wrote about the national men's movement Promise Keepers from his home in Colorado. Rees and Promise Keepers Founder Bill McCartney attended the Boulder Vineyard. Today Rees writes in his free time.
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