Church Hands Each Member $500—With Instructions

LaSalle Street Church in Chicago got boost from real estate sale
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2014 1:14 PM CDT
Church Hands Members Each $500 to Donate
LaSalle Street Church has given $500 to each regular attendee.   (Shutterstock)

After landing big money in a real estate transaction, a Chicago church opted to give a tenth of it to attendees—to the tune of $500 each. That money, the church suggested, should be donated to a cause of the congregant's choice, the Chicago Tribune reports. In the 1970s, LaSalle Street Church backed a housing development for people of various ethnicities and incomes. Now it's in a rich neighborhood, and the church earned $1.6 million from its sale. It gave 10% of that money to some 320 members and churchgoers who attend regularly.

"We had this amazing opportunity to invest in the kingdom in a big way," says senior pastor Laura Truax. "We asked people what they feel they've been called to do." They're answering that question on a wall in the church's basement filled with donation ideas, including fights against Ebola and gun violence. At first, Truax was worried, WLS-TV notes. She tells DNAinfo: "Holy crap, we might just be squandering 160,000 bucks, which is a big deal because we're not even meeting our budget this year," she says. But eventually "it felt super bold, and it felt good." (In other donation surprises, this summer, a house sitter renovated his deployed Marine friend's place to the tune of $70,000.)

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