When Michael Lenahan, children’s pastor at Winston-Salem Assembly
in North Carolina, started putting together an event for his children church kids to raise money for Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge (BGMC
), he really wasn’t sure what kind of participation there would be. Yes, he used
to have 250 kids in attendance every week, but that was months ago.
“Like many churches, we had begun to see engagement go down week by week,” Lenahan says. “We had set a goal of raising $1,000 — some people didn’t think we would meet that goal because of the lack of engagement . . . we had no clues what would happen.”
Lenahan decided to help create engagement for the June 14 event by offering a dunk tank where he was the “dunkee” during the drive-thru event where every child could have the opportunity to dunk him. He also offered a reward for meeting the goal — he would be slimed live online immediately following the Sunday morning online service on July 5.
“Then I told them that for every $500 they raised over the goal, another staff member or worker would get slimed as well,” Lenahan says.
Lenahan says he lost count how many times he was dropped into the water as kids, even if they missed their throw, could push the button with their hands. Cars streamed through the drive thru nearly non-stop for all three hours.
Although Lenahan felt confident they could break the $1,000 goal, few (if any) staff were concerned about the $500 “bonus” slimings — they should have been.
When the event ended, Lenahan was looking to recruit four additional staff to be slimed! He later learned he could have recruited six, as the event was beyond successful. Lenahan kept his promise and, along with three others, received a green-slime “shower”
poured down on top of them — to the delight of an online audience.
“Originally we thought we had raised $3,100,” Lenahan says, admitting surprise at tripling their goal, “but then we realized that we raised $1,000 more in online giving — some people gave at the drive thru and then went home and gave some more online.”
The money raised was going to be split between between Convoy of Hope and the BGMC general fund to help with critical needs as they arise.
“However, the Africa Oasis Project is something else we support throughout the year,” Lenahan notes, “and by raising over four times our goal, we decided to divide the money among the three ministries [through BGMC].”
“It is always amazing when churches decide to give God a chance,” says David Boyd, national BGMC director. “Often churches hesitate thinking, It is a tough time for our people
or Will anyone turn out?
or Will we fail and look foolish?
Instead, God moved, people were thrilled to give, kids will remember this day of giving, missionaries will be blessed, and people will be helped and reached with the gospel. What are you waiting for? Give your kids and your people a chance to do something amazing for missions!”
Since the conclusion of the drive-thru BGMC event, Lenahan says he’s received numerous messages and online comments expressing thanks for the event.
“It shows that this church, even during this time, still has a heart for missions,” Lenahan observes. “Missions around the world didn’t stop due to the pandemic . . . and our kids are passionate about helping people, supporting missions, and hearing the stories from and about our missionaries.”
Dan Van Veen
Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he is BGMC coordinator and teaches 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls.