Todd Carter, lead pastor of the multi-campus Pathway Church in Wichita, Kansas, announced Sunday that his congregation paid off some $2.2 million in medical debt for 1,600 families from across the state who had fallen on hard times.
His church only needed to pay pennies on the dollar for the total debt thanks to the help of a nonprofit organization called RIP Medical, which has abolished $635 million in medical debt for about 200,000 Americans since 2014.
“What they do is they actually go out there and they buy medical debt. And they do it for people who have fallen on hard times. Maybe somebody has come under a significant illness, they’ve had a car accident. For whatever reason, they find themselves in a hardship medical situation, unable to pay their debt,” Carter explained in a clip from his message on Facebook.
“These individuals are hardworking people, veterans, young families and individuals who are unable to pay their debt. And what RIP does is that they go out there and they buy that medical debt, a penny to the dollar …. So for example, when you give one penny that pays off one dollar of medical debt. When you give one dollar that pays off a hundred dollars of medical debt. And when you give $100, that pays of $10,000 dollars of medical debt,” he explained.
Carter explained that instead of spending money on promotions for Easter services this year, the church used some of that money to help the 1,600 families in need. The $2.2 million cleared works out to $22,000.
“We wanted to send out a different kind of mail this year. This year we decided to send out to everyone in the state of Kansas who fell into this hardship category of medical debt a special piece of mail. And in that special piece of mail there was a note. And this is what the note said: ‘We’re Pathway Church, we may never meet you. But as an act of kindness in the name of Jesus Christ you’re debt has been forgiven.' And because of your generosity all 1600 families in the state of Kansas who fell into this category of hardship medical debt including 500 families that are right here in the Wichita area, they got a letter in the mail this last week,” Carter told his church.
Clearing the debt for the families also removed any negative impact from their credit histories.
After the announcement about clearing the debts of families who were unable to pay, Carter tied it to the sacrifice Christ made on the cross to spare the world from the debt of sin.
“I want you to imagine for a moment what those 1,600 people felt like last week when they got that letter in the mail. What was going on in those houses when they got that letter in the mail and all of a sudden they realize that their debt, this debt that has been hanging over their head has been forgiven… that’s exactly what God in the person of Jesus Christ wants you to feel each and every day – that your debt has been forgiven,” he said.