Home News-Free ClearView Church Eliminates $2.3 Million of Local Medical Debt

ClearView Church Eliminates $2.3 Million of Local Medical Debt


ClearView Church is celebrating its 10 year anniversary by giving back to the community in a big way with The Forgiveness Project. The church set out with a goal to raise $15,000 last fall and help eliminate $1.5M worth of debt currently owed in Caddo and Bossier parishes through RIP Medical Debt, a non-profit specializing in medical debt elimination. Church and community members answered that call and then some. The Forgiveness Project raised $18,500, and through RIP Medical Debt a total of $2,361,594.76 was forgiven in Northwest Louisiana.

“As we celebrate ten years sharing God’s grace, we have an opportunity to share the gracious gift of forgiveness in a unique way,” said John Hawkins, lead minister at ClearView Church. “Medical debt can be a crushing burden. Right now, 42.9 million Americans, our friends and neighbors, have unpaid medical bills. In partnership with RIP Medical Debt, we were able to surpass our initial goal of $1.5M of currently-owed medical debt for our neighbors in Caddo and Bossier Parishes. As Christians, we know the value of forgiveness. Thank you for your generosity to offer that gift of forgiveness to those around us. May God use all of this for his glory!”

Each fall, ClearView tackles an additional giving drive that is focused on a timely issue that aligns with the core values of the church: family, grace, others, and transformation. This past year ClearView focused on a cause that is close to home.

“These additional giving drives usually last a few weeks in the fall,” said Hawkins. “But this year, people kept giving and giving, and we kept extending the giving drive longer and longer. I think this speaks to how close to home this hit our church and community during a challenging year.

How does The Forgiveness Project work? RIP is a non-profit debt buyer. Through relationships with hospitals and other debt buyers, they are able to eliminate $100 worth of medical debt for an average of $1. They also use specific criteria to identify individuals most in need of help. Louisiana is currently identified as a hotspot where relief is most needed.

“The impact of having medical debt beyond your ability to pay plays out like ripples in a pond,” said Hawkins. “First there is the stress of bills piling up and constant calls from debt collectors. Next comes a drop in your credit score and perhaps even personal bankruptcy – medical debt is now the number one reason. Most with unpaid medical debts postpone future medical care, creating greater health risks. Most also report increased symptoms of anxiety and depression.”

The church has now donated $100,000+ in its first decade to specific relief and restoration efforts, supporting both local organizations like The Hub and Common Ground Community and global organizations like International Justice Mission and Cure International.

“We believe this act of grace will help our friends and neighbors thrive and perhaps encourage some to turn to Jesus,” said Hawkins. “Grace has a way of drawing us near like nothing else. Just imagine receiving an unexpected letter in the mail stating that ‘Your debt has been forgiven in Jesus’ name by your friends at ClearView Church.’”

ClearView, which held its first service ten years ago at the former YMCA Camp Forbing with a modest space, metal folding chairs and about 40 people, has grown and thrived in the last ten years. Expanding to the LSUS University Center theater for weekly services, the congregation now boasts about 250 members. A vital part of the church community is its children’s ministry and focus on home groups.

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