A San Diego megachurch will give $9.6 million worth of volunteer service to the San Diego community by the end of this year, its pastor said.
The Rock Church, founded by former NFL player-turned-pastor Miles McPherson, had originally only pledged 100,000 hours to San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. But the church has decided to increase its service hours six fold to nearly 600,000 hours by the end of 2009. As of Wednesday, The Rock has completed 423,432 volunteer hours, which translate to $8.5 million worth of service to the city of San Diego.
According to Mayor Sanders, The Rock saved the community $1.6 million through its 100 volunteer service hours, calculated based on an average county worker's hourly pay.
In tough economic times, the church's service has had a significant impact on the city and the state of California, which is facing a state budget deficit of $20.7 billion next year.
"What I like to point out, though, is that we are one church in one neighborhood, having this kind of impact," said Pastor Miles McPherson. "We as one congregation are doing more community service than some huge national organizations."
"Just think how that could be multiplied across the nation," McPherson challenged pastors and churches.
By comparison, volunteer-oriented organizations such as Starbucks served only 300,000 hours this year, while United Way regional offices generally see volunteer service in the range of several hundred thousand hours.
McPherson's new book, Do Something: Make Your Life Count, challenges churches across the country to mobilize people to serve their community and share Christ's love beyond the walls of the church.
At The Rock church, at least 74 of its more than 100 ministries are volunteer-led community ministries. The congregation is predominantly young and urban and has an average of 12,000 people a week for Sunday services.
To help churches interested in volunteering, a companion Web site, www.dosomethingworld.org, was launched to provide suggestions on how to get involved in community service. Among the available resources are "how to" videos and written instructions. It also includes a list of ministries started at The Rock by members profiled in "Do Something," and will allow other churches to submit their own ideas and stories.
Do Something: Make Your Life Count will hit bookstores on Jan. 1, 2010.