Most Sundays, worshipers at the Preston Meadow Lutheran Church dig into their pocket as the collection plate is passed around.
But last week, they held out their hands for a surprising gift from the church that has everyone talking.
Pastor Paul Mussachio invited everyone in attendance to take a numbered envelope from a pile at the front of the church.
Each one was full of money – a blank check signed by the church with a value ranging from $250 to $1,000.
The pastor sent his flock home with the money as part of a project called Preston Meadow Gives, but of course there was a catch.
In a YouTube video about the event, Mussachio explains he wants to spread “joyful generosity” through the community.
“We gave them no direction over [the money,] other than to follow the lead of God and to participate in Christ’s mission of grace for this world.”
Yes, as long as they cash the check within a month and don’t give any money back to the church, the lucky men and women are free to do what they like with it.
“We are blessed to be a blessing, so look for those around you who are in need of this kind of blessing right now,” a pamphlet for the event suggests.
“People near or far to you, strangers, organizations close to your heart or our church.”
But the event isn’t just about “paying it forward” to local charities.
Mussachio revealed the surprising inspiration behind the season of giving, and it may inspire you too.