As Andy Stanley said, “The thing which breaks your heart is perhaps the very thing God wishes to do through you to move God’s mission forward.” And that’s exactly what Emmanuel’s Senior Pastor, Danny Anderson, experienced when he visited a small orphanage in Haiti. Pastor Anderson was inspired to visit Haiti by one of Emmanuel’s church members who had given up a high-end corporate lifestyle to minister to children in Haiti the past 20 years. What Danny Anderson saw there shook him. He knew he and his church needed to take action.
One of the more heartbreaking things Pastor Anderson learned is that the 29 children of one particular orphanage on an island they visited were only being provided with 2 meals a week (SMI Haiti was providing them with rice and beans, helping to simply keep them alive), and they were living in an orphanage made of sticks and mud. Some of these children were making mud pies just to feel full, which is absolutely devastating. So, Danny Anderson decided he would take this challenge back to his congregation.
When Danny got back to his church, they priced out what it would cost to feed the children and realized for $50,000 they could build an orphanage and provide the kids with 2 meals a day. Because Emmanuel is a Pushpay church, they were able to immediately add a new fund to their giving drop-down list and launch the campaign over a weekend. Pushpay’s simple, fast giving system made it easy for people to quickly give and share this cause with their friends.
The participation in this campaign was unlike anything Emmanuel Church had experienced previously. Within 24 hours, nearly 50% of their goal had already been raised through the Pushpay platform, and far before their official campaign end date, they had raised over double their goal. They even saw people who had never given before step up and give impressive amounts of money. Due to the campaign’s success, they were able to improve the quality of the orphanage they were building, provide the 2 meals a day, as well as provide the children with full-time health care and a full-time teacher for the next two years. Additionally, they were able to help other families on the island with food and clothing, too!
The church leadership learned at least two powerful lessons from this experience. The first is that their church will dive into a cause they care about, which means there’s a lot of potential for the way Emmanuel will be able to impact their local and global community in the future. But the second big lesson is what happened after the campaign was over. The church saw an increase in regular giving and new givers! So, it turns out added transparency about money and a common vision around one particular project can help build and establish trust in the church’s mission as a whole. This is an incredibly important lesson that will serve Emmanuel well into the future as they share the gospel far and wide.