Journey from Fundraising to Ministry in Community
by June Freeman, Assurance United Methodist Church
Assurance UMC in Huntersville and Charlotte has found a way to share Jesus through legos, hair bows, and bouncy seats! Creating a space and direction for fundraising to become a ministry is a journey and Assurance has followed that journey to amazing places.
The Assurance Faith Community has found a way to live out their mission to Go serve others and Go share the Good news of God's love. Three times a year, Assurance transforms the walls and halls of the church into a spectacular event bringing families from far and wide to come experience God’s Grace through children’s consignment. This event has turned into a major ministry for the church and community.
It started almost ten years ago when the Children’s Ministry Team was tasked with creating a fundraising event to “do their part” in the overall fundraising for the church. The Children’s Ministry Director, Tina Springs, and three other ladies from her team came up with the children’s consignment sale.
“We wanted an event that would reach the community where they are. To fill a true need.” – Tina Springs
The scripture they were called to was Matthew 25:36 “…I needed clothes, and you clothed me…” and the ministry has never lost sight of that vision.
The Children’s Consignment Sales started relatively small with less than 30 consignors, and the items took up only half of the worship center (Assurance’s multi-purpose room). It is held twice a year, once in spring, and once in the fall. In just a few years the Spirit took over and word spread, the consignment sale grew… and grew… and grew. The event now hosts almost 200 consignors, and close to 20,000 children’s items. The sale takes over the entire building of the church for several days and welcomes over 1,000 people in to shop for anything a parent or caregiver could need for a child. The events earn over $10,000 at each sale for the missions and ministries of the church.
In addition to growing the Spring and Fall sales, they added a Christmas event called St. Nick’s Sack. This sale offers toys for consignment at the perfect time of year. Unlike the other sales, St. Nick’s profits go directly to the Pastor’s Discretionary Fund to help people directly through the winter months.
A faithful team of 15 volunteer servants has developed and they work year-round to make these seasonal events successful. For this team, success is not measured in dollars raised. For them, the story is told by the consignors that come from three states away to work with the Assurance team because of the radical hospitality they are met with. It is told by the families that mark their calendars and come from all over the state and beyond to find everything the little ones in their lives need while surrounded by smiles and love. It is measured by the 100s of families that benefit from shopping vouchers and donated items after the sale to meet some of the basic needs of life.
Matthew’s Closet also began offering the Angel Wings Christmas Shop with donated items following St. Nick’s Sack. This experience offers neighbors a chance to provide gifts for their families by “shopping” the Christmas Shop with items at $0.50 or $1.00.
Today, this fundraising idea has become a source for money for church ministry as well as the foundation for a multi-campus clothes and toy ministry. A great example of fundraising becoming ministry.