During his sermon on Nov. 25, Pastor John Gray of Relentless Church in Greenville, South Carolina, denounced “pulpit pimps” who take from their congregation without giving back to those in need. In an unconventional move, Gray allowed members to take cash from the collection baskets.
“For too long people have stood in a pulpit and told you to give, give, give. Very rarely have I seen churches stop and said, ‘Leave the baskets out, let the people get what they need,’” Grey said. “We’ve got too many pulpit pimps who want to get fat off people but don’t want to meet the needs of the poor people. And Jesus said that’s who you supposed to be taking care of. We got widows, we got orphans, we’ve got single moms in here. We might not be able to do everything but we can do something. I wish we could do more but it’s the best we can do right now.”
Gray, who asked congregants to withhold their offering until they felt a connection to his word, prefaced his invitation by reminding them of the church’s role.
“The role of the church, elder, is not only to receive from the people of God but to meet the needs of the people of God. I asked you to hold your offering until something in your spirit connected with the Word. Did you all hear me when I said that? But the role of the church is also to meet the needs of the people in the house.”
He then invited single mothers, single fathers, widows and veterans to take what they needed from the baskets.
“These people don’t know what it took for me to do this. We are a 6-month-old church with no savings account. We believe God every week but the Lord told me to do this because if I trust Him, whatever is left over would have to be enough.”
Watch the full sermon below. Gray begins distributing the offering at the 44-minute mark.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.