An Ohio megachurch will give a free home to a lucky and needy family who attends its Sunday Easter service this year.
The Church on Strayer in Toledo, Ohio, says it is doing so because that is what Jesus would do in such tough economic times.
“The reason we tied it to Easter is that Jesus gave his life at Easter and we figured we should give at Easter,” said Pastor Tony Scott of The Church on Strayer, to The Toledo Blade. “We have always been a very generous church, and we are always giving to the community. To give a house was the most logical next step.”
Applicants need to attend one of the church’s five Easter services to apply for the 1,250 square foot home that will be built by volunteers. The home, which has not yet been constructed, is slated to be finished in time for the July 4th celebration.
“We are a very community-minded church, and this is just taking the Noel project to the next level and giving away a house,” explained Scott on CNN. “Yes, we want them to hear the message of Jesus Christ, that’s really what it is all about. But you do remember … that Jesus gave 5,000 fish sandwiches away.”
The Church on Strayer has a 30-year-old Christmas program called the Noel Project where it invites poor families in the community to come and celebrate the holiday. The church gives away over 500 bicycles, one to each family that comes, as well as toys, clothes, and groceries to the families that attend.
The Toledo church’s home giveaway during Easter is reminiscent of the event organized by the Bay Area Fellowship Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, last year. The 7,000-member church held an “Ultimate Giveaway” where they gave away 16 cars, 15 flat-screen TVs, furniture sets, and other prizes to people who attended the Easter services. The prizes, which included BMW cars, were worth in total over $2 million and were all donated by church members or local businesses.
Bay Area Fellowship Church pastor told CP that the giveaway was “an opportunity to share Christ with people who may never go to a church for any reason.”
For the Church on Strayer’s giveaway, the recipient will not be picked by a raffle but must apply and meet certain qualifications in order to be considered by a panel. In order to qualify, applicants must have stable employment for at least a year, live in Lucas or Sandusky county for at least one year, be a U.S. citizen or legal resident, be willing to work on building the house for 300-400 hours, and have an income of at least $12,000 a year but not exceeding the Lucas County FY 2010 Income Limits. The recipient of the home also cannot sell the home for five years.
Besides the home giveaway, the Toledo church will also be organizing a massive egg hunt involving 75,000 eggs filled with candy, toys and cash on Saturday and Sunday.
Pastor Scott said he hopes that the home giveaway will be an annual part of the church’s Easter activities, according to The Toledo Blade.