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The Power of Littles


How does your church organize their giving? We were contacted recently by one church pastor, David Campbell, who told how his church in Preston had come up with a simple but different idea to share the load of funding world mission. Here is his story:

At the AGM of North Preston Evangelical Church in November 2017 I reported on the financial difficulties then facing Grace Baptist Mission. As long-term supporters of GBM and its missionaries, we felt it proper to consider what our response to this crisis ought to be. A significant part of our regular offerings were already devoted to missionary support and our giving in this way would continue to be carefully monitored by our deacons. Something additional, however, was proposed – something in which we could all participate, and which could be done from home.


I had been struck at the GBM Mission Day in October 2017 by a statement that was later repeated in an official letter. It was estimated that there were 10,000 people in membership of GB supporting churches and that for as little as £20 per person the whole of the anticipated shortfall could be covered.


It set my mind thinking about something that happened in the church in nineteenth century Scotland. In 1843 a very sizeable section of the Church of Scotland ceased to be connected to the state. For the first time in its history its ministers had to be supported by the members of the churches. Many wondered how it could be done – given that new churches and manses had to be built as well. It was the conviction of Dr. Thomas Chalmers that much could be done if the mass of ordinary people would each give a little. Specifically, if every family in Scotland gave a penny a week the entire ministry of the church could be financed. He spoke of it as ‘the power of littles’. The success of his scheme was astonishing. Some gave large sums. But a vast amount was accomplished by many regularly giving a little.


And so to the congregation of North Preston Church. I proposed an experiment, namely, that we should see what we could accomplish as a congregation in the very same way. I was keen for us to demonstrate the power of littles so that a year later I could report on what we had done and hopefully, by the blessing of God, inspire other churches to do the same.


This was my proposal: we could surely do better than a penny a week! So how about a pound a week, from as many of our church family as would like to participate, from the beginning of January to the end of October? Collection boxes were issued and a sheet of paper with forty small squares for keeping a record. At least thirty-three took part. Some gave a pound a week as a household; others as individuals. Together we raised almost £1,564 – an average of about £48 per participant. 33 participants is over 80% of our membership. Imagine if 80% of the membership of all GBM supporting churches did something similar. That would generate the staggering sum of £320,000, and that without any consciousness of financial sacrifice.


The potential is extraordinary. The power of littles. Just a pound a week. Why not try it in your church and see what comes of it?


David Campbell

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