Just a few years ago, Pastor Jackson got on a plane from Africa to come to the United States of America. He felt led to reach out and form a partnership with a small but growing church in Wilmington, NC. He sold his car in order to purchase the plane ticket. He put his trust completely in the Lord.
When he arrived unannounced at the airport in Baltimore, MD, he called the office of the church asking for someone to come and pick him up. They had to give him the bad news that the Baltimore airport was close to Wilmington, Delaware but not anywhere near Wilmington, North Carolina. But they managed to get him on a bus to North Carolina so they could listen in person to why Pastor Jackson thought he had been led to contact them in the first place.
Not knowing where to put their surprise visitor from Africa, the church staff got him a hotel room. After listening to him address the staff, one of the young pastors named Mark drove him back to Baltimore and put him on a plane back to Africa.
When Mark returned from his seven-hour ride with Pastor Jackson he was convinced that his ministry was one that was worth supporting. The young North Carolina church was struggling financially and trying desperately to save money for its first building. Nonetheless, they were asked to consider giving 10% of their budget to Pastor Jackson’s ministry.
One of the young pastors remarked that it would be insane to give 10% to this man’s ministry at a time when their own church was struggling financially and without a building of its own. Another replied with a pointed question: “Do you think God will punish us for giving too much money to African children?”
The staff prayed as a group. At the end of the prayer and without further discussion they all looked up and said “Let’s do it.”
If you look at a chart of the growth of Port City Community Church in Wilmington, NC, you can see that the biggest jump in attendance followed that leap of faith resulting in giving 10% of the church’s budget to Pastor Jackson. Just eight years after holding its first service, Port City Community Church recently had to turn people away from its doors as it packed over 3700 people into five Sunday services. Plans for a new building have had to be modified to accommodate unexpected growth.
I believe that stories like this show that God has a plan for every person and for every church. And God rewards those who respond boldly and decisively to His plans.