An Ohio church is expanding its outreach by offering to giveaway a house this Easter weekend to a qualifying family who meets their guidelines, the only catch, you must attend one of five services scheduled over the three-day weekend to apply.
In the US alone 95 million people have a housing problem and theChurch on Strayer, located in Maumee, Ohio, is taking a stance and has set a goal to change this figure.
Through the Home for Hope Giveaway , theChurch is "embracing God's promise that 'no one who hopes will ever be put to shame.' They expect to do this by reaching out to the community and restoring hope." The congregation believes it is "important for families, for the stability of the children, for parents dignity and pride to have not just hope but also a home."
TheChurch has been led by Pastor Tony Scott since 1974. Scott received his Biblical Education degree from Lee University prior to accepting the pastoral position at theChurch. They began as a small congregation of 45 adults in Toledo, Ohio. Today the church, which is now known as theChurch on Strayer, has grown to 2,500 weekly attendees at locations in Maumee and in Fremont.
Pastor Scott said "The Home for Hope Giveaway is a continuation of the theChurch's Noel Project, which provides turkeys, clothing and gifts to hundreds of families in the Toledo area each year, during the Christmas season.
Building a home for a less fortunate family is something new for theChurch, Scott said. "He thinks this is the kind of thing Jesus would be doing" in this day and age.
Pastor Scott said he felt "God wanted them to give a home away" to a family, who couldn't afford a home in any other way. He said, "The church asked themselves, what is one big sacrifice they could make as a congregation to help others. After thinking on it, they chose to fore-go building an auditorium, which theChurch desperately needs, and instead they would 'Sow a House.'"
"Meeting someone else's needs when you're in need is Biblical principal," said Scott.
What is the motive behind the giveaway, CNN asked Scott. He replied, "They are a very community-minded church and this takes their work to the next level by giving away a house. And yes, we want them to hear the message from Jesus Christ, who gave thousands of fish away to tens of thousands of people."
"Everyone is eligible," said Scott, "but they will have to live in a house in the Toledo or Fremont areas."
"Afterall this is Holy Toledo," he added.
"The house will be built with volunteer labor, and they hope it's ready for their summer celebration. They already have people contributing appliances and furniture." said Scott.
"There are few strings attached", admitted the Pastor. "The future homeowner must be gainfully employed with a full-time job and be able to afford the maintenance and taxes. And you won't be able to sell the house for five years. There are a few other small restrictions, to make sure this is a credible transaction, and to be sure people are getting a home for the right reasons," said Scott.
Eight services in total, are scheduled over the three-day weekend, and in-between they have a huge Easter egg drop planned, during which 75,000 Easter eggs will be released from a helicopter in the sky.
"When people come into the service they will be given an application to fill out, and we have a committee from the church that will go through the applications. It's not like a raffle, every family who fills out an application will have an equal opportunity to win."
The new owner of the home will be announced within 14 days after qualifying applications are reviewed, according to the church website.
Due to the popularity of the event theChurch plans to make it an annual project, in hopes of changing the reality of the housing problem, "One Home at A Time."
Pastor Scott’s media ministry can be seen worldwide with a live web-cast feed of the weekend services.