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Parable of the Talents

February 17th, 2005 | 1 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

Okay, this story from the AP wire is just flat out cool.

GROVE, Okla. (AP) — Usually, parishioners offer money to their churches. This time, the church handed out money.

Pastor Steve Dyer of the Newsong Church gave $14,000 to congregation members to invest for seven weeks, after which they are to bring the money and profits back to the church to be used in missionary work. “The idea has always been in the back of my mind,” said Dyer.

Loud gasps were heard throughout the 125-member, interdenominational church as the envelopes containing $100 and $50 bills were ripped opened after the Sunday sermon.Dyer had placed crisp $100 bills in red envelopes for adults and $50 bills in green envelopes for school-age children.

“That is going to be a lot of fun,” Dyer said. “A lot of people already have ideas.”

Dyer said the church isn’t keeping track of who has the money. He only gave one stipulation: It was not to be used to buy lottery tickets or to gamble.

Teacia Williams, 14, of Grove said she is going to use her $50 to buy newspaper ads advertising her availability to baby-sit. “I plan on doubling the money,” she said.

What a great idea. I’ve heard of schools doing similar things as fundraisers, but never a Church. It’s a fantastic way for the Church to teach fiscal responsibility to its parishoners, as well as foster a spirit of innovation and creativity. In the long run, it may actually serve toward making business a more acceptable vocation within the Church, a step toward destroying the “secular”/”sacred” divide.

Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is an Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology in Baylor University's Honors College. He has a D.Phil. in Christian Ethics from Oxford University, and is a Perpetual Member of Biola University's Torrey Honors College. In 2005, he founded Mere Orthodoxy.