In Support of Short-Term Missions, Local Pastor loses 71 Pounds and Sports Pink Mohawk
(Rozetta, IL) – A Henderson County pastor has shed over 70 pounds since January to raise funds for his church’s short-term mission team, and just last week he challenged his Vacation Bible School students to support that ministry with their offering, lightheartedly laying his dignity on the line as an incentive.
The children enthusiastically rose to the occasion, exceeding the goal by nearly sixty percent. As a result, they not only experienced the satisfaction of helping the mission team spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they were also treated to the spectacle of Pastor Jim Bennett with a fluorescent pink Mohawk.
Rozetta Baptist Church has been sending out short-term missions teams for the past five years: Two trips to the Appalachians of West Virginia, one to an American Indian orphanage in Arizona, and most recently, inner-city Atlanta last year. Their first international journey, to the Caribbean island nation of Grenada, is scheduled for July.
“I’m so blessed to serve a congregation that has caught the vision for short-term missions, but obviously, international travel means greater expense,” Pastor Bennett explained. “Our budget this year was a daunting $17,000 for our nine-member team.”
Pastor Bennett insists the real story isn’t his silly hairstyle, but rather the startling move of God that has prompted so many believers to be exceedingly generous in their responses. “We’re now fully funded for Grenada, where we will be supporting understaffed, impoverished local churches by setting up and carrying out their own vacation Bible school for them. I can’t help but interpret these answered prayers as the Lord’s endorsement of this particular ministry.”
To finance the trips, the team counts on gifts from the congregation, a popular “Trivia Night” function, and other conventional fundraising efforts. This year, however, some new approaches yielded surprising results: The team members undertook a very successful letter-writing campaign to solicit support, Pastor Bennett made his Mohawk appeal to the Vacation Bible School, and he also received remarkable support from sponsors of his “Pastor Pound Blaster Thin-a-thon.”
“Rozetta folks were evidently anxious to see me drop some weight, and rightfully so. I asked for pledges of at least one dollar per pound lost. With all the pledges combined, it worked out that the mission team received 29 dollars for every pound I dropped, and by God’s grace I’ve lost 71 pounds since January,” Pastor Bennett said. “Thank the Lord we ended the Thin-a-thon the same day we had one of our famous Rozetta Baptist Church potluck dinners!”
As for the new hairstyle, the VBS students were told that Pastor Bennett would get a Mohawk if the offering exceeded the prior year’s total. To inspire some friendly, inter-gender competition, a pink or blue dye job would be thrown in, depending on whether the girls’ or boys’ offerings were more generous.
“I made it clear I didn’t want pink, and that was all it took to provoke the boys to start putting their money in the girls’ bucket,” Pastor Bennett stated. “So pink it is.”
As a consolation prize, the boys were given a list of several embarrassing public appearances to which the pastor would subject himself, and it was decided that he should have dinner at a nice restaurant.
Pastor Bennett and his wife Missy enjoyed a fine meal Saturday night at The Drake restaurant in Burlington where he was treated to prime rib, excellent service, and the shocked stares of his fellow diners. Later that evening, clippers did away with the fuchsia nightmare once and for all and established a more conservative look.
“I certainly wouldn’t have led a church service looking like that,” he explained. “Worship of our awesome Lord calls for reverence. It’s a time-and-place issue.”
Videos of his “transformation” and his dinner at The Drake restaurant can be viewed at the church website, http://www.rozettabaptistchurch.com.
The nine members of Rozetta Baptist Church’s short-term mission team will depart for their 8-day trip to Grenada on July 9th.