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Little Is Much When God Is in It
by David W. Graves, General Superintendent
On October 2, 1792, a group of Baptist pastors gathered for a conference in Kettering, England. One evening during the conference, 12 of these pastors met in a small room in the home of a humble widow, Mrs. Wallis, to consider a proposal to form a missionary society. The proposal had been prompted by the message of a young preacher named William Carey, who had said, “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” Out of this simple meeting and from these humble beginnings, the modern missionary movement was birthed.
The story of William Carey, like the story of the society he was instrumental in founding, is a glorious reminder that God often uses humble and obscure people to do His greatest work. As the song states, “Little is much when God is in it.”
I first met Brian Letsinger when he began attending the church I pastored in Nashville, Tennessee. At the Joplin District Assembly a few years ago, I was surprised to discover that Brian was now a pastor at the Marshfield, Missouri, Church of the Nazarene, and it was a privilege for me to preach at his church. Brian had developed an innovative, fun way to increase the church’s giving to the World Evangelism Fund (WEF).
The church begins every Sunday morning service with a gift offering for others. Pastor Letsinger gives a brief explanation about how blessed they are and how they have the privilege of giving so that others may hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Then they have a WEF march in which everyone brings a dollar to place in the offering plates. It was fun to watch as every person participated. The children excitedly brought their dollars. The youth came forward with their dollars. Everyone, including my wife, Sharon, and I, brought dollars. Of course, some brought more than a dollar. Pastor Letsinger told me his church raised almost all its funds for world evanglism through these weekly offerings. I was amazed at the congregations’ enthusiasm for giving.
In March 2013, we visited Guayaquil, Ecuador, for their district assembly. Last year at the assembly, the district superintendent, Pastor Eduardo Meza, and his wife, Rocio, presented an idea to increase WEF giving. They passed out small change purses to everyone, including the children and youth. They asked each person to put 10 cents a day into the purses. The children and the youth led the way in giving and through this small daily offering, the district was able to meet its WEF goal. This year the people were challenged to give 15 cents a day for world missions. They are anticipating an even larger offering next year. The district is growing, people are excited, and God is blessing their churches.
Because of the faithfulness of people, churches, and districts around the world, the Church of the Nazarene received more than $38.2 million dollars for world evangelism. We are now in 159 world areas with 712 missionaries deployed from 27 world areas. The denomination has more than 28,000 churches and 2.15 million members. The song is still true, “Little is much when God is in it.” Let’s continue to do our part in spreading the Good News to the rest of the world!
NEVER TOO YOUNG TO BE GENEROUS
by Doug Carter, Nazarene Elder, Founder of RMTM Strategies, and Senior Vice President of EQUIP Leadership.
Beginning in 1964, my wife and I served 16 years as missionaries to the Native Americans living in the southwestern part of the U.S. One summer, we were guest speakers at a holiness camp meeting in Georgia. Also attending and speaking at the camp was a young couple preparing for missionary service in South America.
On World Missions Emphasis Day at the camp meeting, each couple was given opportunity to speak. The young missionary wife going to Bolivia explained they needed funding for household items on their field of service, specifically appliances. In the audience were adults, teenagers, and children.
Following the service, a junior high girl ran across the chapel to her parents and exclaimed, "We must give our refrigerator to the missionaries! They will need a refrigerator when they get to South America." Her parents explained that it wasn't practical for them to give away their refrigerator. Her mother added, "But perhaps we could give money to help them buy a refrigerator." She replied, "Okay, you and dad give the money." Her father explained, "Providing a refrigerator was your idea, probably because God spoke to your heart. What are you going to give?"
The junior high student stood in silence for a few moments. Then she said, "I will give everything in my piggy bank and give my entire allowance every week for as along as it takes." When she returned home after camp meeting, she told her Sunday School teacher about her plans to give her allowance to the missionaries to buy a refrigerator. The teacher shared her story with the entire class and within a few weeks, 25 other junior high youth were giving their full weekly allowances to help buy a refrigerator for God's servants soon leaving for their field of service. Needless to say, the refrigerator was purchased and given to the missionaries.
Everyone is born with the tendency to be greedy. It is highly unusual for children to willingly share their toys or M&Ms. Generosity must be taught and learned. While I believe this is primarily the task of moms and dads, I am totally convinced that the local church must play a vital role.
Pastors, youth ministers, and Sunday School teachers must lead the way. But how? Let me share an IDEA with you.
Instruct from the Word of God. From the lad with the loaves and fish to the Good Samaritan, the Bible is filled with stories of generous men, women, and children. Tell their stories.
Demonstrate generosity. Example is still the most powerful teacher. If you want the children in your church to grow up to be men and women of generosity, you must model generosity. You must give before you ask others to give.
Explain ways and provide opportunities for children, youth, and adults to practice generosity. In addition to giving finances, this must include opportunities to volunteer their time to help others, to meet needs, and to solve problems.
Affirm those who practice generosity by regularly sharing stories about lives changed, needs met, and problems solved as a direct result of time, talent, and treasure generously and lovingly given.
If a child is never too young to be generous, then it is never too soon for us to teach them generosity.
NYI Pioneers Multiple Global Convention Sites
by David Gonzalez, Development Coordinator for Nazarene Youth International.
Nazarene Youth International is indeed a ministry with and to youth. In an attempt to give a greater voice to youth around the globe, NYI held its 2009 Global Convention at eight different sites simultaneously with the assistance of technology. The hope was to bring together and give a voice to those who, due to financial and visa issues, didn't have the opportunity to attend the regional site in the USA.
The connection between sites was made possible through the hard work of a number of regional staff and youth volunteers, and NYI is once again working hard to offer multiple sites for the 2013 Global NYI Convention. These sites represent more opportunities for Nazarene youth from around the world to contribute to the global voice of NYI. However, without assistance, most youth delegates are still unable to be part of this vital event. Jesus for a New Generation, a program design to raise funds for youth projects, hopes to eliminate financial obstacles and help the youth delegates attend at any of the regional sites.
Several projects are listed on the Jesus For a New Generation website. NYI hopes that individuals will share the projects with their churches, youth groups, and others who might be able to assist NYI delegates with their Global NYI Convention-related expenses.
Below is a list of the current projects associated with the convention:
Thank you for reading!
“A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.”