Week of Bounty
Most strategies that have significant Kingdom impact are down-to-earth and very simple.
The Week of Bounty is just that—a dynamic yet simple strategy that is very easy to do in your local church.
The Week of Bounty is a unique way for the local church to be active in meeting the needs of the poor in their communities.
The Week of Bounty has only a minimum cost to run at your church and the value of what can be given to those in need can be thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Fires in Knysna | Image Credits:Twitter/ Snazo Gulwa
History of the Week of Bounty
Cyclone Devastates KwaZulu – Natal
In the 1980s, a cyclone devastated the KwaZulu-Natal province in South Africa with dire consequences. Thousands were homeless. Many lost everything they had.
It was on a Saturday that the storm raged across one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa, home of the Zulu tribe. I received a call from Pastor Danie Vermeulen in Richards Bay, KwaZUlu-Natal. I could hear the anguish in his voice.
“The place is a mess,” he said. “We’re going to need major help.
Putting down the phone, I wondered what we could do. I could ask the churches that we relate to across the country to give finances, and they would. But it wouldn’t be enough to make an impact on a disaster of this magnitude.
I turned on the television a few hours later. The national television camera crews were able to get some early footage of the disaster. What I saw was much worse than I imagined. It really was a mess!
I called Pastor Ed Roebert, then the senior pastor of the Hatfield Christian Church, under whom I had served, and informed him of the great need in KwaZulu-Natal. I asked if he would consider challenging the church members at the Sunday morning service to go back home after the service and gather together everything that they were not using and bring it back to the church that same afternoon, or at the latest, the following day. He said he would do it!
After I called Pastor Ed, I phoned other pastors across South Africa until late into the night, asking them to ask their members to gather all they did not use at home and bring it to the church.
When they agreed, I asked them to call other pastors that they knew, to ask them to participate as well.
At midnight I went to bed wondering what would happen the next day. I was concerned about the plight of the thousands in need in KwaZulu-Natal.
The following morning I made a few more phone calls to the pastors I was unable to contact the previous evening.
Upon getting a final update from KwaZulu-Natal, Lydia and the children and I rushed to church.
At the service, Pastor Ed asked me to give the congregation of about 5,000 people an update on the situation in KwaZulu-Natal. He, in turn, encouraged the congregation to go home after church and gather the possessions they did not use and bring them to the church that same afternoon.
I have always believed, and still do, that there is a latent dynamic in the local church. If we can only mobilize this dynamic, more could be done in the broken world than anyone could imagine.
As I looked out over the congregation, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me the enormous potential wrapped up in this body of Christ. If only this potential was unleashed, KwaZulu-Natal’s needs would be significantly impacted. I wondered how many of them would respond.
After church our family went through our home and gathered things we were not using, taking them back to the church.
At the church, we could not believe what we saw. The line of cars coming to the church was long. Hundreds of people were bringing carloads of bags and boxes of goods to send to the cyclone-affected area.
So much was brought that we had to stack up the chairs in a large part of the church building to make room for all that was given. People kept coming all afternoon. Soon there was a mountain of goods.
I checked through much of what was brought. Surprisingly, very little was unusable. People had opened their hearts and brought way beyond what we could ever have imagined.
Later that afternoon, Pastor Ed came to see what was happening. I informed him that a much bigger challenge was developing. What the people had brought was not only a truckload, but many truck loads. How would we ever get all of these goods to the disaster area in KwaZulu-Natal, an eight-hour drive away?
To add to my concern, I received phone calls from churches all over South Africa telling me that their members had also brought significant amounts of goods.
The problem was that some of these churches were as far away as Cape Town. To drive from Cape Town to KwaZulu-Natal would take well over 20 hours.
The challenge shifted from needing to gather goods for disaster relief to how to get the goods to the devastated area. There were literally hundreds of tons of goods from almost every corner of South Africa that now had to be transported to the disaster area.
News of this outpouring started to get around the country, and even more churches decided to participate. How could we solve this enormous challenge? How would we transport it all?
To my amazement, we found the answer to this huge challenge in the Body of Christ, when members from various churches around the country, who held positions of authority in society, decided to participate in the project and to transport the goods!
Although it felt like days, within hours after we made the announcement, we had commitments from the South African Defense Force, South African Airways, and South African Railways, as well as privately owned transport companies, to transport all the goods to the disaster area.
Once the goods arrived in KwaZulu-Natal, the local churches and their members in Richards Bay and the surrounding areas took over.
Local church buildings became distribution centers – a hive of activity! Church members volunteered their time to sort through and pack the goods for immediate distribution. Others gave their cars and trucks to transport the goods to the places of need. Even the church members from the affected areas came to pack and carry the aid to those in desperate need.
Within one week of the announcement, hundreds of tons of goods were collected, delivered, and distributed in KwaZulu-Natal!
It was a Week of Bounty! A vision that started in my heart back then has lingered for years.
Seven Simple Steps for a Successful Week of Bounty
Step 1. The local church makes a decision to run a Week of Bounty.
Step 2. Determine a date when you will run the Week of Bounty.
- You can choose any week in the year. However, many run the Week of Bounty during the Week of Pentecost, which is from May 28 – June 4, 2017.
Step 3. Recruit a small volunteer team to help with the sorting and distribution of the goods collected.
Step 4. Have people with needs in the church fill out a needs list before the Week of Bounty. (Often single parents, widows, or the aged are in need of many items)
Step 5. Encourage the members of the local church to start looking in their homes and places of business to decide what they will bring to the Week of Bounty.
Step 6. The members bring the goods to the church during the Week of Bounty. From there, it is distributed with the help of the volunteers to:
- Meet the needs of those in your own, local church.
- Partner with churches in underprivileged areas around you and let them distribute the goods to the members of their church or community.
- Partner with nonprofits that work in underprivileged communities.
Step 7. Make sure that all the goods are distributed within about two weeks. Don’t let the project drag on for too long. You will have opportunity to do it again next year.
What is the Week of Bounty?
Most of the world lives in poverty and is in desperate need of help. The Bible teaches that we, as believers who have received much in the spiritual sense, are to be generous to the poor and care for them.
The Week of Bounty is a very simple way to show people who face difficulties in life that Christians genuinely care. And more than that, it is an amazing way for the poor and needy to experience the love and care of our Lord Jesus!
Who knows, they may open their hearts to accept Him as personal Lord and Savior because they see the generosity of His people.
During the Week of Bounty, we encourage the members of our church to look around them – in their garages, houses and places of work – and find anything of value that they do not use or that they can do without.
For instance, church members can donate building material, foodstuffs, an extra table or chair, clothing, bicycles, books, cars, bibles, and on and on.
The members of the church are then encouraged to bring all these goods to the church during the Week of Pentecost. All of the donations will then be checked, sorted and distributed to the poor and needy in the community.
To put it in a nutshell, the Week of Bounty is:
- Looking with purpose and intentionality around you.
- Finding all kinds of things that you don’t use or hardly ever use.
- Making a deliberate decision to give these to the poor and needy.
- Taking the goods to the church during the Week of Bounty.
- Using a team of volunteers to sort the goods and then distribute them to those in need.
If you are the pastor of a church, please consider doing a Week of Bounty from May 28 to June 4 with your congregation!
If you are not a pastor, share this message with your pastor and encourage him/her to do the Week of Bounty with the congregation!
Please don’t miss this unique opportunity to impact the lives of the poor and needy.
Join hands together with your brothers and sisters in Christ, and show the world that the Church of our Lord Jesus is alive, and willing to make a difference in a hurting world!
Above, you will find simple steps for a successful Week of Bounty.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any further advice (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I will gladly send you, free of charge, the book that I wrote about how the Week of Bounty started. It shares some amazing testimonies of changed and challenged lives.
International Director of World Mission Centre