A Texas megachurch has taken an extraordinarily bold and generous decision wipe away over $10 million of medical debt owed by the local community. Covenant Church in Carrollton, Texas, decided to relieve over 4,000 families of their medical expenses as part of its Easter celebration.
The stunning act of kindness was birthed out of personal experience. Pastor Stephen Hayes was just 17 years old when he was involved in a car accident that left him with a staggering medical bill. At the time, his family received much-needed financial assistance from their church community. Hayes never forgot the act of kindness, and he’s set out to pay it forward — in a massive way!
On any given year, Covenant Church typically spends the upwards of $100,000 to promote and market their Easter services. They produce radio ads, TV commercials and even hire out billboards — at a cost of $30,000 per month, as reported by RELEVANT.
This year, however, they decided to spend their money in a very different way, donating the sum to RIP Medical Debt, a charity that connects donors with families and individuals in need of financial relief.
The money fund raised by Covenant Church first went to local veterans who were struggling with injuries suffered on the battlefield. Once every single veteran in the 20-mile radius of each church campus was covered, the remainder of the funds went to other local families who had fallen on hard times.
The results are absolutely staggering: 4,229 families in the Carrollton, Texas, area will now receive letters informing them that their medical debt has been completely covered. The money that the congregation raised for the effort amounted to an enormous $10,551,618.
As the final total was announced, Hayes brought the message home, reminding congregants that they, too, have had their debt paid in full by the blood of Jesus Christ. As part of his wonderfully compelling message, Hayes cited John 19:30 when Jesus said, “It is finished.”
“Because you gave above and beyond what was needed… 4,229 families this week will be getting a letter in the mail saying, ‘Your debt is completely gone,'” Pastor Hayes said.
“Jesus didn’t just die for the sins that would be committed but for all the ones that had been committed.” -Pastor @StephenMHayes
What incredible celebration of the resurrection of Jesus this morning!!#CovenantChurch #Easter2018 pic.twitter.com/BhhV4bfqW1
— Covenant Church (@CovLive) April 1, 2018
“That’s your letter in the mail,” he said. “If you can imagine what those people this week will be feeling when they receive the letter that you sent them saying their debt is paid. I prayed 100-fold that [is how] you would feel in the reading the letter He wrote to you in the book of John 19:30. Hey, your debt of sin is paid. You are covered.”
Church members were absolutely thrilled about what they accomplished together.
“I have grandparents who are veterans, too. So just thinking about the hardship that would cause for someone,” one congregant told KXAS-TV. “It wasn’t their choice. They didn’t go into debt because they ran up the credit card. It’s because something that happened to them. So I just love that we were able to help people where it wasn’t their choice. But we got to choose to help them. I just love that.”
KXAS described the mounting medical debt crisis in America, noting that it is particularly severe in Texas.
“Experts with RIP Medical Debt said Texans have an estimated $4.7 billion in unpaid medical debt currently in collections. What’s even more shocking is that Texans may actually owe 10 times that amount, or roughly $50 billion, when you include debts that are not in the hands of collection agents.”
The local news station first inspired Pastor Hayes to get his congregation involved in their efforts to relieve communities in Northern Texas of their financial woes. With Covenant’s contribution, KXAS has reported that its viewers have now donated enough money to eliminate more than $15.5 million in medical debt.
You can help by heading over to the donations page here.