Pastors shave heads to send youth to Named 2015


SD group an example of creative fundraising

By CL staff


Youth groups tapped into significant creativity to raise the funds necessary to send youth to Named 2015. One of the most creative fundraisers CL staff noted took place at Christ Community Church (CCC), Sioux Falls, SD, where donations counted as “votes” toward the pastors shaving their heads.

“We needed something really different to get people involved in fundraising for 27 of us to attend Named 2015,” says youth leader Rebekah Coombs in an email interview.

A sign placed near the front door of the church featured pictures of pastors Troy Weiland and Neil Peterson—with and without their hair—and graphics to measure funds. Over the course of about six Sundays, church attendees placed money in two jars to indicate which pastor they believed should shave his head. A tie in funds would mean both pastors would shave their heads.

“There was a lot of conspiring to make it a tie,” Coombs says. She noted people checking the chart or making last-minute donations to make sure their candidate “won.”

She says, “It was so fun to see our church people come together, rallying for each pastor.”

All ages from the congregation participated, contributing everything from loose change to checks. Youth leaders hoped to raise between $400 and $800 from the effort; the final amount was over $1,700.

And in the end, it was a tie, so both pastors shaved their heads (Weiland facing camera and Peterson on right.)

The CCC youth group also raised funds by selling baked goods at a winter bazaar held at the church and by selling orders for Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Thanks to generous pre-orders, the group sold 450 dozen doughnuts on one Saturday morning.

Coombs says a Facebook page for youth planning to attend Named 2015 helped generate doughnut sales. “Soon kids and adults were posting how many boxes they’d sold,” Coombs says. The friendly competition was both motivating and encouraging, she says.

In a conversation during Named 2105, Coombs said that the CCC youth who attended not only had fun but were also challenged in their faith. Several from the group stood to indicate a first-time commitment or re-commitment to Christ during an invitation on Friday evening.


Other church fundraising efforts

The $299 per-person registration fee for Named 2015 didn’t include transportation or meals, which meant that youth groups needed help from generous congregations to get to the event, especially those groups sending large numbers of attendees or those traveling great distances. Youth workers tend to be a creative bunch, so it’s no surprise that fundraisers were creative, too. 

Many youth groups hosted a meal for donations, like the chili cook-off at College Community Church MB, Clovis, Calif., or the Sunday dinner at Bethesda Church, Huron, SD. Youth from Garden Valley Church, Garden City, Kan., hosted the church’s Valentine’s banquet, and a fundraising lunch at North Fresno (Calif.) Church was combined with a silent auction of desserts.

Students at North Oak Community Church, Hays, Kan., took orders for “candygrams” and lollipops, then delivered them to church attendees on a Sunday morning.

First MB Church, Wichita, Kan., sent a group of more than 70 to Named 2015, the largest group at the conference. The group organized a variety of fundraisers, including their biggest event—a dinner theater and silent auction held in late January.

Katie Goings wrote, directed and produced the original comedy, “A Night in McKurty,” that was performed two nights by the students in First MB’s Student Ministry. The students prepared and served a baked potato bar and “Terry’s Famous Chili.” The silent auction, which featured different items each evening, included a variety of homemade items, baked goods, sports memorabilia from Wichita State University and Kansas State University and business donations. There was no charge for the dinner, play or childcare but donations were accepted. The group raised more than $16,000.   

In another fundraiser, First MB attendees submitted requests for help with projects such as painting, cleaning or babysitting. Students who served then received donations toward Named 2015, although youth leaders noted that the experience of serving was valuable, regardless of the size of donations.


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