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Church Gives Away Half-Million Dollars in Economic Crisis

Like many churches in 2009, Cross Timbers Community Church (Argyle, Texas) has seen an offering slump because of the economic crisis. Though this has forced the church into some painful pruning, Pastor Toby Slough has been more concerned about how the many different people of Cross Timbers are seeing hard times of their own through job loss, pay cuts, and foreclosures. With that in mind, Slough did something a little different when the church took up an offering one Sunday morning in March of 2009. He didn't encourage people to put money in the plate; he encouraged people to take money out of the plate. The church actually took in the largest offering of its nine-year history. People were more than ready to give to those in need—ready to make sure the plate was filled to overflowing as it was passed among those who were suffering.

"In these economic times, we can't be so into church business that we forget what our business is, and that is to help people," Slough told a CNN affiliate in Dallas. In the two months that followed the Sunday morning offering surprise, Cross Timbers has given a half-million dollars to members and non-members who are facing various financial struggles. One Sunday morning they gave $50 bills to 1,300 families and asked them to hand them out to those in need. One of the recipients of Cross Timbers' generosity was Katie Lewis. When interviewed by CNN, a tearful Lewis said, "I've been alone so long. Just to be thought of and to be remembered, to be welcomed—it's amazing."

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