'Year Beard' challenge tops $27K for ministry

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
Brad Graham, Antrim Township administrator, received the award for 'Best Beard' in The Tide's 'Year Beard' challenge. Below, he opted for just a trim at the event marking the end of the fundraiser.

Saturday afternoon, Jan. 4, a group of guys in central Pennsylvania got together — not for a big game, a hike or a hunt — but they did have one very unique thing in common.

All had committed to growing their beards for an entire year to help raise awareness and funds for The Tide ministry’s work to spread the Gospel around the globe. For the 2019 “Year Beard” challenge, 16 men grew their beards all year long, while several others committed to shorter growing periods — eight for “No Shave November,” one for a three-month period and five for six months.

“We are excited to announce that the inaugural Year Beard challenge raised over $27,000 for The Tide global Gospel ministry,” said The Tide Director of Development Mark D. Story of Greencastle, who was also a Year Beard participant along with The Tide Director Don Shenk. “This was due to the diligent efforts of the participants, as well as a generous matching gift. We are immensely grateful to the bearded men who made a very unique — and sometimes challenging — commitment to grow their beards for a full year so that The Tide ministry could benefit.”

The Year Beard participants raised $27,283.25, and a $500 contribution was given at the event after Story agreed to eat “the world’s hottest chip,” the Paqui Carolina Reaper tortilla chip.

Year Beard-ers, their families and The Tide staff gathered at B Street Restaurant in Greencastle for the “Year Beard Bonanza." For those who wanted to start out 2020 clean-shaven, Nick Cearfoss and Gage Piper of The Dapper House next door to the restaurant were on hand to clean up the faces of the good-hearted group.

For the event, The Tide ministry also welcomed international author and speaker Jared Brock, who wrote “Bearded Gospel Men: The Epic Quest for Manliness and Godliness” devotional. Each of the yearlong “Year Beard” participants received a copy of the book at the start of 2019, and Brock offered free, autographed copies at Saturday’s event.

“The Tide takes a creative partnership approach to fulfill the great commission,” Brock said. “Through their international radio ministry, people hear about Christ for the very first time. I heartily endorse the ‘Year Beard’ challenge — what better way to advance the Gospel than by remaining ‘follically’ faithful? ‘Year Beard’ is a whole new way for everyday men to live out their faith and grow their own neck scarf.”

Those who committed to a full year of beard-growing each had a $1,000 fundraising goal to help The Tide ministry purchase more airtime for its Gospel radio broadcasts in Asia, Africa and Europe. Participants were provided with conversation starters such as country fact sheets, a testimony sheet and a pocket info card so they could speak to potential donors about The Tide mission. The men also received a “Year Beard” T-shirt, beard combs and beard oil plus Brock’s devotional. A motivating factor throughout the year was the knowledge that for every dollar given, 20 more people worldwide can hear about Jesus — or, in the case of the Year Beard fundraiser, over a half a million people. 

Two main prizes of sporting tickets and handmade wooden trophies were awarded to the participant who raised the most money for The Tide ministry (Dave Mongiovi of Lititz) and to the participant voted “Best Beard” (Brad Graham of Greencastle, Antrim Township administrator).

Sponsors for the “Year Beard Bonanza” included Premier HVAC, Lehman Construction Services Inc., F&M Trust and Nitterhouse Hardware & Masonry Supply. Sponsors of the Year Beard challenge with in-kind donations included Giant Food Stores, B Street Restaurant, The Dapper House, Jared Brock/“Bearded Gospel Men,” Keen Imagery, Del Martin Screen Printing & Embroidery Inc. and Thrivent Financial.

The Tide ministry offers audio programming in 25 heart languages spoken by millions of people in multiple regions of Albania, Bhutan, India, Kosovo, Nepal, Nigeria, Thailand and Zimbabwe, making it possible for them to hear the Gospel in the languages they were born to speak.

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