(Photo: Christ Fellowship)
Members of a Fla. multi-campus church have raised over $600,000 over the span of 48 hours for the sake of charity.
Miami-Dade County-based Christ Fellowship Church raised the large sum during a two-day charity drive that began on Saturday, Dec. 15 and concluded Sunday, Dec. 16. Aimee Artiles, spokeswoman for Christ Fellowship, told The Christian Post that while this was not the first time the church had done a charity like this, the results were unprecedented.
"In October, we decided on $337,000 and to challenge our church to raise that amount to fund some opportunities with a nonprofit affiliated with our church, Caring for Miami, and to continue our work with the team we have in place in India," said Artiles.
"This particular Christmas offering was not our first. However, it has been our biggest so far. We challenged our church to raise $337,000 in one weekend, and ended up almost doubling that goal and raising $602,000."
Artiles also told CP about the places where the large sum of money would be going to.
"Caring for Miami currently serves the spiritual, physical and mental needs of the hurting and under-resourced in Miami," said Artiles.
On supporting mission work in India, she explained, "[Christ Fellowship] leadership visited India last month and witnessed the incredible things happening for His kingdom – lives being changed in rural villages that have never heard the name Jesus and among a people who are so clearly persecuted for their Christian beliefs."
In an interview with the Miami Herald, Christ Fellowship Senior Pastor Rick Blackwood celebrated the results of the charity drive.
"Christ Fellowship is blessed with the capacity to dream big. This December, we challenged everyone, including our own staff, to give big and be a light to their community and the world. The results were astounding," said Blackwood.
On the Missions section of its website, Christ Fellowship divides up its efforts into three categories: "Personal Missions," "Local Missions," and "Global Missions."
Personal Missions are outreach efforts to members' friends and neighborhoods; Local Missions are focused on the Miami area; and Global Missions focus on various charities supported by the church in countries like El Salvador, Jamaica, and the Ukraine.
"We encourage each other to give back to Him with our finances and invite everyone to give regularly and proportionately to the ministry at CF. Our giving envelopes read, 'It's not what God wants from you; it's what He wants for you,'" said Artiles.
"I think a strong giving history is also a result of the type of culture here at CF. Our senior pastor, Rick Blackwood, and church leadership have made it a priority to create a culture here that is very outward focused."
Founded in 1917, Christ Fellowship Church has six locations in Miami-Dade County: Coral Gables, Homestead, Redland, Downtown Miami, Palmetto Bay, and West Kendall in Miami.