Pastor Everett Vander Horst of Meadowlands Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ont., surprised his congregation Sept. 8. After preaching a sermon on the generosity of God he followed the song of response with a request: “We have a very special project in mind, and we are looking for 25 volunteers to be involved.”
With only five people in the church knowing what was about to happen, it took a few minutes before 25 people had gathered at the front. Vander Horst then handed each volunteer a $100 bill, explaining that this was God’s money to be used to bless the community. They were being given a “Kingdom Assignment.”
An anonymous donor in the congregation had provided the $2,500 for the project. The idea stemmed from an article that Ken Tigchelaar, chair of the congregation’s stewardship committee, wrote in the newsletter Developing Stewards, a publication of Christian Stewardship Services. After writing about Kingdom Assignment projects and their impact, Tigchelaar promoted the challenge to his pastor, suggesting they had "a congregation with an innate sense of curiosity and an openness to trying new things. I thought this project would be a fun way to stimulate conversation on what stewardship really is."
Eleven weeks after accepting their assignment, the volunteers shared their experiences at the Nov. 24 worship service. One couple planned a knitting class with a nearby Indigenous community. A woman helped two recently arrived refugee women to repaint their apartment. A father-daughter duo fed a local football team after their practice.
Peter Frielink, a first-year student at Redeemer University, was attending Meadowlands for the first time when the Kingdom Assignment was launched. Frielink volunteered and used the money to start a club at Redeemer to connect with seniors. “This experience pushed me outside of my comfort zone and made me try something new.”
Vander Horst emphasized the results of the Kingdom Assignment do not rest with the congregation members. “It is important to recognize that the money is not our money, it is God’s money, and he is going to multiply it or use if how he sees fit.”