BY DAVID WAID
Early last fall, Kaye Delamater suggested that Lakeview Free Methodist Church have a fundraiser for missions involving weight loss. At the time, several individuals in our church were losing weight, and she thought we could use that as a way to generate funds for missions. The Missions Committee talked about the idea, and decided to begin Jan. 3 with an initial weigh-in and then end April 3 with a final weigh-in. Fifteen people, including both pastors, signed up to lose weight and gather sponsors to raise funds.
These fifteen people first set a weight loss goal, and then began to gather their sponsors. Individuals, both within the church and outside the church, agreed to sponsor them at either a set amount or an amount per pound lost. Overall, 89 people signed up as sponsors (some for multiple individuals), 42 church attendees and 47 non-attendees.
When January 3 came, the program started. Different ways were used by people to lose weight. Some followed the Weight Watchers program, some TOPS, some joined our local Wellness Center, and some just did their own thing at home. Over the course of the next three months, these people worked hard at losing weight. By the time of the final weigh-in, the 12 individuals who finished had lost a total of 193.5 pounds – ranging from 3 to 42 pounds a person. The pastors were the biggest losers (no pun intended), losing a combined weight of 77 pounds.
Not only has money been raised for missions, but people have become healthier. One person who had high-blood pressure has been taken off the medication and is regularly seeing blood pressure results of 110/70. Another failed the first attempt to pass an insurance medical test, but has since passed that test. It is something that any church can do and profit from.
By now you are probable asking: How much did you raise? Let me say first that it has been awe-inspiring to watch the funds come in. The initial pledges came to just over $1,800. One person, however, who pledged 25 cents per pound gave us a check for $100. Another who pledged $40 also gave us a check for $100. Many others have also given more than what they initially pledged. With 10 individual pledges yet to come in, we have in hand $2,213.19. For that we are praising “him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).
David Waid is the senior pastor of Lakeview Free Methodist Church in Lakeview, Michigan.