North Point Community Church senior pastor Andy Stanley
(WXIA) -- Something happened in this city a few months ago that made us take notice and want to be part of.
Five million dollars was raised by a local church to help fund charities in Metro Atlanta. It took just 14 days in a campaign called "Be Rich" at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta.
MORE | North Point Ministries launches 'Be Rich' campaign
The success of the Be Rich campaign took just about everybody by surprise - even the ministry that started it. In fact, North Point senior pastor Andy Stanley got a little push-back from his staff when he first introduced the idea as a sermon series.
"When I came in and said I want to title this series 'Be Rich,' I could just see 'Oh, no,' there goes a megachurch again; a pastor of a megachurch talking about money, trying to get money'," Stanley said.
But they would come to learn Be Rich isn't about how to get rich. It's about how to live richly, through generosity.
"As Americans, we're not very good at being rich. In our country, the more money a person makes, the less money they give away percentage-wise," he said. "So I challenge our congregation as hard as I know how to - hey, you need to become a percentage-giver so that as your income increases, the amount of money you give away increases. Basically this series says, you have already been blessed with more than you need -- then you need to give to those in need."
They chose 57 local charities based on leadership, financial efficiency and their reputation in the communities they serve. Since its inception in 2008, the congregation embraced Be Rich, giving away millions of dollars to those charities year after year.
But last year when they rolled out the annual campaign, something happened. North Point - hoping to raise $500,000, instead, raised $2 million - in just one week.
"I thought, maybe that was a fluke," Stanley said. "Maybe that was just an emotional thing."
But they moved on faith that maybe it was something more. So they went to their partner charities with a new pitch.
"'In your wildest dreams, what would you love to do in your community?'"
This year, they set what seemed to be a courageous goal.
"I came back and said, 'we have a million and half dollars worth of projects that we've vetted. We have another million and a half just in case you guys get wild and crazy with your generosity,' because I didn't know," Stanley said.
They got wild and crazy, all right. In less than two weeks, North Point raised over $5 million.
11Alive's Brenda Wood asked Stanley, "What did you think of that? Did you get goose bumps? Did you get chills?"
"I did," he said. "I was so proud. Every single penny of that, every penny of that went to these organizations."
And they got some big checks.
"We do what we do best - that's raise money and send out volunteers," he said. "They do what they do best, that is the charity that they've created to impact their community, and it's been amazing."
Amazing -- and life changing. The power of generosity.
"It really is more blessed to give than it is to receive," Stanely said. "It really is."
It means lives are changing for the better in Atlanta. And because 11Alive is committed to helping our community, we've now joined in the Be Rich movement.
On Thursday, we'll introduce the organization we've chosen to help - Wellspring Living is taking on sex trafficking, and you'll meet a young lady who was able to get her life back.