Stetson Baptist Church had an interesting problem in the 2018-2019 fiscal year: Because of quirks in the calendar this year, they had 53 weeks instead of the usual 52 to collect tithes and offerings from its members.

The pastor, Dan Glenn, decided that his church should launch a “53rd Sunday” campaign, and use the extra week to raise money for two community causes. The church split the entire $153,867 raised on the bonus week between two separate initiatives. Half of the money went to Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, which supports local foster care. The second went the charity group RIP Medical Debt.

The organization works with donors to purchase outstanding medical debt from at-need families. Often times, they can buy the debt for pennies on the dollar, but, once they own it, they can forgive families debt entirely.

With the extra tithe money, the church was able to help cancel more than $7 million in medical debt for about 6,500 families.

“This was something that really struck a chord with our church,” Pastor Glenn explained to The Christian Post. “Medical debt is something that I think everyone can get behind. But our church is unique in that we have an undercurrent in our church of fostering and adoption, both from the perspective of families that have fostered kids and adopted children but also through adults who were foster children or adoptees.” 

He continued, “In Jesus’ ministry on Earth, that’s what He did. He helps people. And so for us to be the hands and feet of Jesus means that we’ve got to use the resources that God has given to us, both individually and corporately, to make a practical difference in people’s lives.”