Camelback Bible Church

Corvettes for Christ: A Lesson in Sacrifice

Posted June 17, 2015

The following article was featured in the Summer Edition of Camelback Bible Church’s Connect Magazine and was written by CBC member Hank Martin. I wanted to share it with you so that we could all see how God works in us and among us through different activities and events for our Children’s Ministry. Enjoy the article. – Pastor Ron Elwardt

Hank Martin

Hank Martin

One Wednesday evening after LOGOS, my son Joel asked if we could take our Corvette to church on Saturday for the model car auction. A LOGOS leader had challenged the boys to make matchbox-like Corvette model cars over the previous few weeks and then sell them via auction to benefit Christian Family Care Agency. The LOGOS leader also invited anyone with a “real” Corvette to bring it to church for the boys to view.

Joel and I arrived in the Camelback Bible parking lot that Saturday at 9:00 am and, sure enough, there were five other Corvettes parked in a line. We joined the line-up and were ushered into an expanded Room 209, set up with multiple video screens on the East and South walls playing videos of drag racing and Corvettes accompanied by music and narration.

Around 60 boys, parents, grandparents, and Corvette club members were waiting for the event to begin. The model cars were artfully displayed in front of an auction block and the event included a real auctioneer and master of ceremonies.

DCP_0057Pastor Ron Elwardt introduced everyone, described the auction procedure along with the expectation that the bidding should proceed in 50 cent increments with the hope that $5 would be raised for each model car. He offered a beautiful prayer, describing how each boy was giving up a treasure (the car he had made) to benefit another unknown child who might not have a home or parents, similar in ways to Christ’s ultimate sacrifice. This was a rubber meets the road prayer, likely in front of some who were skeptical or non-believers.

Andrew PhillipsBidding began on the first car. Each registered bidder had a sign to signal his bid, and signs began flashing around the room. In seconds, the first car sold for $25. Each winning bidder was photographed with the boy who had made the car.

Prices rose and the auctioneer was clearly growing uncomfortable, worrying that things were getting out of control because most of the bids were coming from children. What he couldn’t see was that many of the bids were first coming from Corvette Club families but the winning bids came from boys whose fathers had just leaned over and whispered to them. The bids from the boys were clear and certain. The fifth car up sold for $100 on a child’s bid, backed by his dad.

CBC member Mark Phillips was there with several of his sons, one of whom had entered a car. The boy desperately wanted his dad to buy his car. The bidding went beyond Mark’s limit for the auction, and I watched his son curl up in the seat in tears. What few in the audience realized was that after Denny Collins photographed the first winning bidder with the child who made the car, it was immediately returned to the shocked boy. I don’t think anyone suggested this, but each succeeding auction winner repeated the gift.

When it came time for Mark’s son to give the car to its winner, he thought it a mistake when it was returned to him. It took several tries to effect the return, and I’ll never forget the look on his face when he actually understood. From making it to giving it up to benefit another child to hoping his dad could get it back for him but failing to actually receiving it back with Christ-like generosity, all reflected on that young boy’s face in an instant with a lesson I’m sure will stay with him for a lifetime as only the Holy Spirit can teach.

DCP_0124But there was more. When all 12 model cars had been sold there was kind of a stunned silence when Ron announced that over $500 had been collected to give to Christian Family Care Agency. What had started as a seemingly small effort on the part of our LOGOS kids had become something very real, especially with the generosity of the winning bidders in returning the cars. The audience was invited outside to view the Corvettes and many stayed while the kids sat in the cars and even enjoyed some very fast rides in the parking lot. I watched people whom I’ve never seen before leave with joyful expressions having been in Christ’s home and experienced something very supernatural as we all learned about sacrifice and giving.

I also had opportunity to see my son Joel interact with many of the kids he teaches in LOGOS class and their affection and admiration towards him. On our drive home, I explained to Joel that it was the Christian Family Care Agency who brought us together with his birth parents and oversaw the entire adoption process. All in all, this was an unexpected Saturday morning and Christ was surely present at Camelback Bible Church.

Response from Christian Family Care Agency

We received the gift that was raised by your boys’ group. I wanted to let you know that we have decided to use it to buy Easter baskets for not only the foster kids we serve but the ones in group homes again this year. These Easter baskets mean so much to the children that do not usually have anything of their own and we get to include Bibles and other books that tell them about Jesus and how much He loves them.

Your contribution will buy over 40 baskets for these kids! Here are some of the testimonies we receive about baskets from year’s past. With your great support, we will be able to do it again this year!

Dear Christian Family Care, thank you so very much for the Easter baskets for our 3 boys’ group homes. You truly put smiles on 24 boys’ faces. What a beautiful thing! You are angels – and thanks to all those who donated the baskets, too!! We are so grateful! –Group Homes 2014

I would like to thank you for all the baskets. They were amazing. I truly can’t thank you enough. Some of these kids have never received baskets. One of my families that could not afford things like Easter baskets, are grandparents that have had their grandkids placed in their care. When we were able to give their grandkids baskets for the first time, it made the grandfather cry. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. -DCS Worker 2013

Just wanted to say thank you for the very cute Easter basket! It was unexpected and so nice to receive something for the little ones in our home. So sweet and thoughtful. We are grateful! -Foster Family 2013

Christian Family Care, thank you for the wonderful Easter baskets for our boys. Having you by our side truly is having a friend. Your support is very appreciated, please extend this thanks to all those who donated supplies to the baskets this year. They lit up the faces of five great boys. – Foster Family 2014

Please thank all the boys and parents that worked so hard to help raise this money for our kids!

Jacqueline Cruz
Events and Communications

Written by Ron Elwardt - Website

Ron Elwardt moved to Phoenix from Wisconsin (Go Packers! Go Badgers!) with his wife Ruth and daughters Megan and Becca in 1989. Recently celebrating his 25th year of ministry at Camelback Bible Church, Pastor Ron currently serves as Pastor of Families and Children. “That I may know Him [Christ] and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death.” – Philippians 3:10


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