Small is not weak
When I was little I had a money box that had the following saying on it: ‘Great oaks from little acorns grow’. It was a good reminder that even if I was saving small change every week, over time this would make a sizeable sum.
The knitting group in Townsend Street Presbyterian Church knows this only too well. This is a tiny group in a small congregation that is not letting its size diminish its generosity and outreach potential. The group knits and crochets scarves, hats, baby blankets, bonnets and dementia muffs, among other things. As well as giving these items to those in need, each member contributes £3 weekly and the money is divided between church funds and the Presbyterian Children’s Society (PCS). Annually they raise upwards of £700, amazing the church treasurer, who is convinced they are knitting money.
Townsend Street is exactly the sort of congregation Paul Gray, director of the PCS, is talking about in his article on the Society this month. Through some analysis of giving, he has discovered that it is some of the smallest congregations in PCI that give the highest amount per individual or family. Paul says, “The question today is not whether your congregation is big or small, but rather whether it is a community of compassion.”
The Council of Congregational Life and Witness has identified that the majority of congregations in PCI would be classed as small. With that in mind it is looking at ways to encourage small congregations and will be running two events in the Spring to better equip these churches with the challenges they face. David Thompson, Secretary for the Council, highlights that “small has never been a problem to God.” Karl Vaters, who will be guest speaker at one of these events, emphasises this in his article when he says, “There’s not a single Bible passage that excludes your small church from the promises, blessings and calling God gave every church.”
Christmas time is a perfect season to be reminded that small does not equal weak, especially when God is involved. When He chose to send His Son to the earth to save us all, He chose an unwed girl, a carpenter, a donkey and a stable – the ordinary welcoming the extraordinary. This should be hugely encouraging to us all – it is in our feelings of smallness and unworthiness that God’s power can be greatest seen. All He requires is our trust. As the Christmas carol In the Bleak Midwinter says, “What can I give Him, poor as I am… Yet what I can I give Him, give my heart.”
Merry Christmas from everyone in the Herald office.
The Presbyterian Herald is the official magazine of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. It provides a forum for debate and discussion on a wide range of topics and aims to challenge and encourage Presbyterians, as well as inform them about what the wider Church is involved in. It has a readership in excess of 25,000 and is distributed throughout Ireland.
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