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Generosity Challenge Leads to Housing Purchase, Well Development


A sermon series on generosity at Ivanrest Christian Reformed Church in Grandville, Mich., was the impetus for a church-wide giving campaign that exceeded expectations.

The congregation raised nearly $83,000 between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30—far above the $60,000 goal the church had set for the “Generosity Near and Far” campaign, an effort to support worthwhile projects locally and globally.

“At the end of the series (Pastor Brandon Haan) challenged our members to submit ideas for ways to be generous,” said Lynn Vanoostveen, a deacon at Ivanrest. “He encouraged them to dream big and they did.”

Haan, Vanoostveen and fellow deacon Renee Kooiker, the church’s director of community connections and outreach, and additional members of the congregation formed a team to review project ideas. They chose to support two organizations that members of the church were already close to: setting a goal of $25,000 to purchase and outfit a modular home with Family Promise of Grand Rapids and $30,000 to drill a new well with Kenya Hope.

In addition to the money Haan said congregation members would assist with the outfitting or rehabilitation work on the mobile home.

“Both organizations have a connection to Ivanrest’s heart,” Vanoostveen said. “We have been involved with Family Promise for many years (serving as temporary housing for Family Promise clients without permanent homes) and chose them as our ‘near’ organization. One of our (congregation) families has been involved with Kenya Hope and we had done some smaller supportive things for them previously so they became our ‘far’ organization. We brought in speakers from these organizations to share their hearts and to bring the congregation into our hopes and dreams.”

The funds raised include two separate matching donations of $10,000 from members of the congregation for hitting certain fundraising goals.

“The congregation at Ivanrest has responded really positively to the challenge,” Haan said. “People have caught the vision for what we’re trying to do, and they’ve jumped on board.”

Among the fundraisers the congregation held included a trivia night, soup supper, coin war, pie sale and can drive. “These were fun and got us in the spirit of giving but the real blessing was the response of our congregation members. They opened their hearts and gave so generously,” Vanoostveen said.

The fundraising team hasn’t yet determined how to designate the additional funds raised. They’ve again asked the congregation for suggestions on where to use the remaining funds. “We’re currently sifting through those ideas, but it’s a good problem to have,” Haan said.


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