Encouraged by the government-funded efforts, the $50,000 "faith stimulus" was aimed to reach out to the needy.
Depending on luck of a draw, members of Bay Community Church in southern Alabama received envelopes with cash in denominations of $20, $40 or $100, the Washington Post newspaper said in a report.
Religious groups are taking a variety of approaches, including growing food on church plots, counseling for jobs and home foreclosure, free haircuts and oil changes, for people adversely impacted by the worst economic recession in generations.
"This is about creating a mindset: We don't 'go' to church, we 'are' the church. What can we do to bless our community?" the church leaders wrote on its website.
According to Trey Taylor, associate pastor of 2,000-member church, community members were not expected to give the stimulus money to the "first person you can find," but to take some time to consider how to help.
According to the report, the rules for spending the money are: You can't spend it on yourself or your family. You can't give it back to the church. Be creative and make the money go as far as possible.