Monday, March 26, 2012

Passing the Hat

A while back, our pastor started something new: Pass the Hat. Most, but not all, Sundays, he passes a hat throughout the congregation during the sermon. We're to put whatever amount we choose into it: a day's lunch money, what we'd normally spend for coffee, a dollar or five or ten. Nothing is set in stone, if you'll pardon the expression. Then, Pastor John gives the cash collected to whoever God puts upon his heart to choose. The person selected is to then take the cash and wait for God to put it upon their heart to give it to someone in need with this message: "Jesus loves you."

It's been a deeply rewarding experience for our church as a whole. The experiences of those chosen have deeply affected them...though initially, most find the responsibility for the task more than a bit daunting. Some of their experiences have been tender and moving, others incredibly funny. Hearing each story as they were related in church gave me an idea: a book of Pass the Hat stories. Most, if not all of us are familiar with the Chicken Soup series...and a good friend of mine, fellow author Eve Gaal, recently contributed to God Makes I know there's a market for Pass the Hat.

Yes, this could work as an inspiring book...maybe even a series of books. I proposed the idea to Pastor John and Carole, and they were receptive to it. I began thinking, planning, figuring out the best format for the book. Collin started thinking about cover ideas. I got excited about it. The book--or books--would of course be the property of the church. The royalties would be paid to the church. I would finally be using my talents in the way I believe God wants me to use them.

And then, just when I thought I had it all figured out...after services yesterday, Pastor John gave me the Pass the Hat first thought was, "Uh-oh. God's tested me before. He's going to make me give this to someone I don't like...."   


  1. I'm thinking that's a peculiar looking hat...

    It's certainly a good idea, and it's something you're already good at. You can structure and polish, but it's the words of the congregation themselves.

    I can imagine how that kind of test would end up!

  2. Hey...that's a fedora!

    Exactly...I won't actually be writing it, just polishing the words of the people telling their stories and setting it up in the proper format.

  3. It is a fedora! Odd looking one though...

  4. Might be the angle at which I photographed it....

  5. It is a very exciting idea. Something that you can really understand and put your knowledge into working.
    I am so glad something like "pass the hat" is working for you and your church.
    The only part I have a problem with is the "Jesus Love You" part. I have seen too much hypocrisy, killing, maiming, bombing, women rights destroyed all in the name of God.
    In my x's family the religious hypocrisy is overwhelming, all invasive and destructive. It is a do as I say not as I do based faith.
    My faith is a quiet, personal and kind of Golden Rule based. Simple but it works for me.

    That said I like your idea very much. I see a wonderful success for you and your church.

    cheers, parsnip
    I see the Hat Money you received, going towards buying a soccer goal set for the other courtyard play area .... with new plants and small trees being planted in you area.

  6. I was thinking bus tickets for all of them to anywhere but here!

    1. ack... your idea is way better... One way tickets !

    2. Unfortunately, this offering wouldn't be nearly enough to cover one-way tickets for all of them!

  7. Well of course we have a basket in our church and sometimes we don't put anything because we sent a check for something big like a parking lot. Not the whole parking lot of course, but our church needed millions for a huge parking lot and asked parishioners to get on an "auto-Pay" plan. Man were we happy when that parking lot was finished and we could finally get off the "auto-Pay" plan! Praise God and Hallelujah!
    Thanks for the mention and I love your idea. I think it will be very rewarding for you and fun too.

  8. We've always had the "plate" for which you put your offering. Usually the offering is also in an envelope so that everyone isn't embarrassed about how much or how little they give. The money goes towards the church...but, I like the idea of the "hat" being passed around and the money going to someone who will use it for the church. That's a great idea you have for the book. I like it...and your just the person to do it!!

    1. We also have the traditional collection plate. The hat offering is to be used to help someone who's not in our church, who is in need and also needs to hear the Message.


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