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FBC Sulligent pastor runs race to raise money for churchcomment (0)

February 23, 2006

In the early morning hours of Feb. 12, Pastor John Nicholson’s feet pounded out an important message on the streets of downtown Birmingham — he was putting feet to a recent Sunday sermon.

His sermon, based on the parable of the pounds in Luke 19, challenged members of First Baptist Church, Sulligent, in Lamar Baptist Association to invest some money and give it and the increase back to the church’s Challenge to Build campaign.

The church then gave each member $20 to use in the stewardship project.

Nicholson took the money given him and used it to enter the Mercedes Half Marathon, asking for sponsorship from others in the church and community for each mile he ran.

“The challenge was to take whatever you do or can do and use the initial investment and expand it. This was the way I could do it — by running in the race,” Nicholson said.

He explained that the motivation behind running the race was twofold — he had always wanted to run in a marathon and he wanted to help advance the churchwide goal to build a new building for educational and fellowship space.

As race day approached, church members encouraged Nicholson in his rigorous training.

And as he approached the nine-mile point of the 13-mile race at a long, difficult uphill stretch, he said he knew the church family was praying for him.

“As a result of their prayers, I had extra energy and encouragement to finish the race,” Nicholson said.

Others in the church are following in their pastor’s footsteps and reaping similar returns on their investments.

John MacLaren, director of the office of Cooperative Program and stewardship development for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, said challenges such as this can help church members see what they can do to help the church grow.

“A lot of times, we think that, ‘Wow, that works for somebody else,’ but this shows them that, ‘Hey, I can get out and make an effort, and there will be a return on what I do,’” he said.

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