A church in Texas has given away a total of $125,000 in checks to parishioners on Sunday, with the request that they would use some of the money to help others in need.
The parishioners at Preston Meadow Lutheran Church in Plano were surprised when their pastor handed out checks ranging in amount from $250 to $1,000 at two separate Sunday services this weekend.
Pastor Paul Mussachio reportedly asked the attendees to pick envelopes on a table in the front of the sanctuary, but he did not tell them that it contained checks written in varying amounts.
"In the envelope was either $250, $500 or $1,000, but I didn't tell them that until they sat back down. I didn't tell them that because I wanted to create that anticipation and really let this hit home with them of just how big of a deal this was going to be," Mussachio explained.
Part of the checks indicating the recipient of the amount was left blank, allowing the congregants to select who or what organization will receive the money that they received.
Mussachio said that the only condition to receiving the gift was that the check had to be cashed within 30 days, and that the money must not be given back to the church and it should be used where it is most needed.
"You release a lot of control on this. And so it's left up to them of where it goes," Mussachio said.
The checks were accompanied by pamphlets encouraging parishioners to help others in need. "We are blessed to be a blessing, so look for those around you who are in need of this kind of blessing right now. People near or far to you, strangers, organizations close to your heart or our church," the pamphlet stated.
According to Fox4 News, the amount handed out to the parishioners was donated by some church members who saw the positive results of a similar experiment on fourth graders with much smaller amounts of money.
The pamphlet noted that the fourth-graders were able to multiply the amount they had received by up to 400 percent by asking others to join them in their generosity.
Bibs Toney, who was present when Mussachio handed out the checks on Sunday, said that the gift was an opportunity for families to discuss how they can help others.
"Children will be involved in this and that's huge to sit around [as a family] together and talk about what you are going to do for others," she said.
Fox News reported that the church website now has a landing page that would allow anyone to share their story of giving or receiving money.