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Maryland Church Gives 'Outrageously' to Draw Unchurched Crowd


A church in Colombia, Maryland has found a unique way of giving back to their community and drawing in the "unchurched" crowd all at the same time. 

Destiny Church gave away five free cars during services Sunday. 

Pastor Stephen Chandler leads the congregation and wanted to randomly give away cars to not only bless people but to draw more unbelievers to church.

"Our values as a church is that we are outrageously generous," Chandler told CBN News. "That is encapsulated by Acts 20:35 'it is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
Destiny Church normally sees about 1,100 attendees each week, but more than 2,100 people came to the Sunday service for the grand opening at their new location in a Columbia strip mall. 

The church gave away a used Dodge Journey, a Ford Escape, a Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla, and Chevy Cruze. 

Janqueshia Gay, a church member, and volunteer won the Chevy Cruze. 

Chandler told CBN News that Gay's car lease was about to end and she would not be able to keep the vehicle, which she uses to get back and forth to work and school. 

But during the service, she heard the pastor and his wife, Zai, call her name over the microphone. 

"God is amazing. I love my God. My God never fails me," she said through her tears.

"That was a big win," Chandler said. 

Chandler said the Destiny Church has remained consistent in being generous. Each year they set aside 10% of tithes and give it to missions, outreach, and nonprofit organizations. This year they decided to give back and even bounced around the idea of buying out a Chick-Fil-A and passing out free food.

"We have an overwhelming excitement to bless people," he said.

Chandler told the Washington Post he wants to share God's goodness with people in his community. 

"I think the idea of generosity is not just something that applies to people that are in need," he said. "We truly care about this community, whether you're in financial straits or whether you're in a good season of your life. We don't just care about the hurting. We care about every single person."

Some attendees felt like the giveaway away was no more than a marketing ploy. 

"It' a stretch. But I mean, if that's what it takes nowadays — in the new age, you gotta come up with some kind of gimmick or incentive or whatever," Angella Cole said. "It's a good way to get people's attention. Should they do this every week? I doubt it."

Chandler responded to some of the criticism.

"It's not your typical event that your church would do and it did not bring your typical people," he said. 

"Unfortunately when it comes to church there is a great deal of skepticism by people who don't attend church," he continued. "This was an opportunity for people to drop their guards, try church, and open their hearts to God."

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