THOMASVILLE — The leaders of Victory Fellowship Church had no idea how far their church’s money could really go. The non-denominational church in Thomasville paid off over $1.1 million of medical debt in seven nearby counties, including their own.
“We wanted to give our community a year-end Christmas gift,” said lead pastor Jamie Nunnally, “but we were amazed that a $10,000 donation could relieve so much medical debt. This is a real game-changer for many people.”
The church partnered with RIP Medical Debt to wipe out the outstanding medical balances for 735 people in Thomas, Grady, Brooks, Mitchell, Cook, and Colquitt counties in Georgia, and Jefferson County in Florida. The total amount of debt paid off was a staggering $1,138,983.98.
“We chose these counties because we have church members who live in them, and these are more rural areas that tend to have a high incidence of low household income,” Nunnally said. “We love the fact that RIP Medical Debt targets people who simply cannot afford to pay their debt, especially veterans.”
Founded in 2014 by two former debt collections executives, RIP Medical Debt pinpoints the debt portfolios for those in or near the poverty level. They buy the debt and utilize donor funds to forgive it. They then send forgiveness notices to the benefiting families, and subsequently help the recipients repair their credit reports — renewing their access to opportunities and resources that will allow them to rebuild and recover.
“We hope that the recipients of this donation receive it as a no-strings-attached gift from the Christian community,” Nunnally said. “Just as Christ has paid the spiritual debt we could not pay, we have paid the medical debt they could not pay. If you think about it, this really mirrors the message of Jesus.”
When Pastor Nunnally announced the gift to his church the Sunday before Christmas, the congregation was elated.
“They were so excited and started cheering,” Nunnally said. “Many people immediately began talking about doing this again and partnering with other churches. I think sometimes we forget just how fun generosity can be.”
According to the American Journal of Public Health, medical debt contributes to two-thirds of bankruptcies. On RIP Medical debt’s website, they report every day 79,000,000 Americans choose between paying their medical bills and basic needs like food and shelter.
“It feels good to put our faith into practice,” Nunnally said. “The world is tired of only hearing about the love of God — they need to see it demonstrated.”
Victory Fellowship Church is a non-denominational “bapti-costal” church family with an emphasis on practical Bible teaching and spirit-filled living. Filled with all types of people from various spiritual backgrounds, VFC’s mission is to create healthy Christians.