By Stan Friedman
CASTLE ROCK, CO (March 7, 2012) – Paul Lessard, pastor of Castle Oaks Covenant Church, was stunned by what he saw in the envelope three pastors from another local congregation handed to him. Inside was a check for $17,000.
It was a contribution from Plum Creek Community Church (PCCC) to help Castle Rock purchase a building. The non-denominational Plum Creek congregation donated the money from its own building fund.
“We have recently made a practice of praying for each other’s church publicly on Sunday mornings as we are in a common situation,” says Lessard. “Over the past two years, we’ve shared information during our respective searches and sought not to find ourselves interested in the same property or buildings.”
The Plum Creek congregation is about 800 people and plans to spend about $3.5 million on their new location, Lessard says. The church has met in a local theater since it started holding public services in 2007.
The Covenant church has an attendance of 200 and meets in space at a local outlet mall. It recently made an offer on a new building.
The pastors of both congregations have developed close relationships as they have participated in a larger weekly prayer group of ministers from around the area. “When I have a Sunday off, I often go to church there,” says Lessard. “We lend them our portable baptismal tank and help each other when we can.”
One of the pastors from PCCC called Lessard last week and invited him to join the three for lunch. “They told me that the theme for their campaign was generosity and that they’d encouraged their congregation to look for opportunities to be generous,” Lessard says.
That was when the trio told Lessard that the PCCC leadership team decided they needed to model generosity and would give a gift to Castle Oaks for the congregation’s building fund.
And then they handed Lessard the check. “It was incredible!” he says.
“They’ve done lead gifts, but they’re only half way through their campaign, so they don’t even know how much money they will raise and whether or not it will be enough to proceed,” Lessard says.
“As I’ve shared this story with staff and our leadership, it’s been received as both an amazing affirmation and a challenge that we, too, practice a radical generosity,” Lessard says.
He shared the exciting news with his congregation on Sunday. “In both services, folks gasped and broke into spontaneous applause.”
Lessard says the church will consider ways in which it can extend its own generosity.