(Photo: CedarCreek.tv/Joshua White)
A megachurch in Ohio has started a giving program in which on select Sundays it donates $1 to charity for every individual who attends a service on one of its campuses or online.
CedarCreek Church, a nondenominational congregation whose first campus was established in Perrysburg, began to initiate the giving program during the services done at Easter time.
Lee Powell, senior pastor at CedarCreek, told The Christian Post that his church got the idea from a church in the South that had done a similar donation by attendance program to benefit local charities.
"I heard about this through another pastor," said Powell, who felt that the giving program also stressed the importance of church attendance. "People kind of joke around now that the attendance doesn't matter, when I feel like the attendance does because each person counts, matters to God and so we just tied the attendance to giving away."
Powell also noted that his church is "very missional in the sense that we support international missions and local," but that this tying attendance to giving was a novel concept for his church.
"We gave away about $21,000 already this week. We had 18,400 in attendance physically and then we had another two thousand online on our Internet campus," he said.
"Bottom line is we just wanted to be a light to the community."
According to Powell, another Ohio church doing a similar dollar for attendance charity is Rock City Church of Columbus, which is headed by Chad Fisher.
"[Fisher] heads a smaller church of about 500 people. He does it every week," said Powell. "He's been doing it now for about 12 weeks."
As for the future of this charitable endeavor, Powell hopes to eventually have his church do this dollar per attendee drive weekly by 2013.
"We want to do it once a month for the balance of this year and the goal is for 2013 to do it every week," said Powell. "And based on attendance trends that means we will probably give away over a half million dollars."
CedarCreek Church was founded in the fall of 1999. The congregation opened its first satellite site in 2006 and has multiple campuses in Toledo, Perrysburg, and Whitehouse.
The proceeds of the giving program will go to multiple charities, including Cherry Street Mission Ministries, Vision Ministries, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Ohio, and The Arms Forces.