NORTH BERWICK, Maine — A fundraising goal was met by Joshua Gagnon, lead pastor of the Next Level Church, when he made 10,000 basketball shots during a 24-hour event held at Noble High School on Saturday.
The event kicked off with a party Friday evening featuring cheering fans and a high school-style pep rally complete with concessions.
“It was incredible,” parishioner Brandon Mains of Middleton, N.H., said. He said nearly $30,000 was raised during the event, during which people offered pledges per shot. The final total, however, was unknown as pledges also were made online and are yet to be tallied.
“There was tons of families out here,” Mains said.
The church is chasing a $250,000 goal.
Next Level Church is under contract to purchase the adjacent property, which will become the future home of a community center to give single mothers a fresh start through housing assistance, counseling and job training.
Mains said that while the fundraising efforts are to support furnishing the church’s new location at 436 Route 108 in Somersworth with sound equipment and seating, part of the intent of this event was to get people in the area familiar with the church to learn who Christ is.
“A lot of people came out to show support,” Rebekah Latours of Somersworth, N.H., said.
She said she called about 3:30 a.m. to pledge $5 per shot for the next 60 seconds.
Gagnon earned $65 from her pledge.
He was reportedly more than halfway to his goal by Saturday morning with about 8,000 shots made.
He had made that many before he had to be iced down, Mains said. He said Gagnon’s commitment level was so high, someone had to tell him to take a break.
“He’s very, very competitive,” he said.
By 2:30 p.m., after his goal had been reached, Gagnon debated whether to keep going. It was decided that it was time to wrap up the event.
“It was really a great time,” parishioner Stacy Barrows of Berwick said.
Next Level Church has four locations, four pastors and one executive pastor.
Distributed by MCT Information Services