Give it Away: Ohio Congregation Meets Needs through Radical Generosity

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Great Lakes, Loving and Serving

By Carl Stagner

“If you want more happy than your heart will hold, if you want to stand taller—if the truth were told—take whatever you have, and give it away! If you want less lonely and a lot more fun, and deep satisfaction when the day is done, then throw your heart wide open and give it away!” An excerpt of the gospel music hit made popular by the Gaither Vocal Band in 2006 leaves the reader a lot to consider about generosity. Of course, not only does the recipient experience a blessing through practical generosity, but so does the giver. But, when it’s radical generosity—the kind that looks for nothing in return and places the fewest expectations possible on the recipient—people start to wonder what’s behind it all. In the case of Dennison First Church of God in Ohio, they’ve shown again and again the motivation behind their radical generosity is the radical love of Jesus Christ.

Two years ago, the “Community Giveaway,” as it’s been known simply, got its start with one man who shared a vision he felt the Lord had given him to help people “struggling to make ends meet.” Gently used clothing and household items quickly became the focus of regular collection for the church, culminating in a first giveaway event of memorable proportions.

Clothing free for the taking!

“The first giveaway was very humbling,” Pastor Jim Wallick recalls. “The number of people who came through the doors was amazing, yet sad. Sad because people in our community were struggling to make ends meet. Most people who came through asked if we could continue doing this. They also mentioned that nobody in the community had been giving away items for free. So, we started having the giveaways on a monthly basis. Two years later, we are still helping those in need.”

The church doesn’t charge for items, and they don’t limit the amount of stuff people can take. Seasonal clothes and items come and go—the most recent giveaway included spring and summer fashions, for instance. Leftover winter clothing was recently donated to other nonprofits. In addition to clothing, the event has transferred ownership of couches, chairs, recliners, washers and dryers, stoves, kitchen tables and chairs, beds, nonperishable food items, and more.

“All the items are donated from people who want to help others who are struggling,” Pastor Jim explains. And not all the items come from within the congregation, a outcome of the word getting out about this ministry. “We are always in awe of how God works,” Jim reflects. “People love helping people, especially during hard times. What is amazing is that we see some of the people who are in need also bring in items to donate. I am in awe when we see that.”

Toys, household goods, and nonperishable food included!

Though Dennison First Church of God is delighted—and somewhat surprised at the success of the ministry—they also recognize the intentional heart of what they do and why they do it.

“The commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves is central to the teachings of Jesus Christ,” Pastor Jim concludes. “As a church community, it is crucial that we not only understand the importance of this commandment but also actively strive to live it out in our daily lives. We are doing that with this Community Giveaway. Loving our neighbors as ourselves is not an optional suggestion; it is a commandment that lies at the heart of our faith. As a church community, we commit ourselves to actively love and serve our neighbors with compassion, kindness, and selflessness. By living out this commandment, we become a living testimony of Christ’s love and grace, transforming lives and bringing hope to those around us. Together, we are a church that loves our neighbors as ourselves, reflecting the unconditional love of our Savior to a world in need.”

Their mission statement is as follows: “We at Dennison First Church of God exist to help people know God personally as Father, Savior and Lord; grow as Christians in relationship with God and each other; and go together to share this relationship with others.”

Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.

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