What if you were handed $100 dollars in a church service? Don’t we always think it is supposed to happen the other way around?
Well not this time. Not on November 4th and 5th of 2000 when Denny and Leesa Bellesi got to see their long time idea and dream come true while teaching a lesson on stewardship taken from the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 of the Bible.
Pastor Denny asked for volunteers, 100 to be exact, 25 in each of their four services at Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, CA, a church that was founded by the Bellesi family in October 1985. The time was right. Denny had to preach his regular yearly message on tithing, the church had 10,000 dollars in the coffers for a missions project and a movie, by the name “Pay It Forward” by Author Catherine Ryan Hyde had just entered the theaters. The time seemed perfect for an outside the church box idea.
When the volunteers arrived on stage they were surprised to be handed cold cash in the form of a $100 bill. Their mouths dropped, they cried, they laughed, they looked at each other in amazement. How could this be; they thought… is the money even for real; they thought, holding it up to the light to make sure.
The money was real and it was given along with three very important rules.
They money is not theirs, but God’s.
They had to do something outside the walls of the
church to further God’s kingdom.
They had to report back in 90 days to say what they did with it.
Well, right away the church was a buzz and the stories of faith began to flood in. Leesa began being the keeper of the stories, recording them on video and in written form. Coast Hills always had some fun ideas, but this seemed to go beyond any of their wildest hopes or dreams.
People were praying in ways they had never prayed before, hearing from God in ways they had never heard from God before, sharing their faith in ways they had never shared their faith before and felt the joy of being used by God in ways they never had before. All involved just stood in awe of the power of God’s handiwork.
On Coast Hills reporting day, February 7th 2001, the stories were told to an over flow crowd. NBC’s Dateline, People Magazine and local News reporters were there to record the stories that was celebrated live and in videotaped fashion. A praise choir lifted the name of Jesus Christ high for all to hear. Look and see what the Lord had done. And in the mean time people’s faith was set on fire for Him.
The original $10,000.00 had become over $150,000.00 in good and faithful deeds around the world in the name of Jesus. And the people of Coast Hills had a whole new appreciation of what the verse that said “well done good and faithful servant” meant. There was no doubt they had learned to be better stewards of all God had given them.
Do you want to launch your own KA? Let us know. The Kingdom Assignment Staff would like to help you with information we learned during that first assignment.
To date, 8 years later, the original $10,000.00 is now in the millions…
Read about Terry’s Story in the first KA Book that was told on the Oprah Winfrey Show May 2003. She turned 100 dollars of God’s money into a million dollar project called Hope’s House for Women and Children in transition.