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Friday, August 5, 2011


In the book entitled, “The Externally Focused Church” by Rusaw and Swanson, the authors tell a true story.

“In 1987, Mike Hayes of Rochelle, Illinois, was a freshman, at the University of Illinois, and was trying to figure out how to pay for College. He wrote to Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene, asking each of Mr. Greene’s readers to send Hayes a penny. Greene took a liking to the idea and asked each of his several million readers to send Hayes a penny. Thousands responded. In less than a month, “Pennies for Mike Fund” contained 2.3 million pennies, which at that time would actually pay for four years of college.”

The Penny-Worth lesson for the Church the authors of the book are pointing out is that the church’s greatest impact may not stem from asking for great things from a few people, but from asking many small things from a lot of people.

Rev. Doug Anderson of the Rueben Job Institute for Pastoral Leadership has a saying, “One does not have to change everything to change everything!”

Sometimes the problems that we face in our communities, our families, our lives seem so over whelming. We feel like we cannot do everything, so we end up doing nothing. But the fact of the matter is that always we can do something, a Penny’s Worth at least.

What Penny-Worth thing is waiting for your penny today?
Who needs your last Penny of love? or forgiveness? or encouragement?
With whom can you share a Penny’s worth of grace?
In what local project can you invest a Penny’s worth of effort and goodwill?

And for the parish I’m also asking a Penny’s Worth, many small things from a lot of people – a daily prayer, a worship service, a Bible chapter read, one fitness or Sunday School class attended, a mission blanket purchased, a “God story” shared, a pint of blood donated, a shut-in visited, one invitation extended. What Penny-Worth thing will you bless your church with today? And be assured: whatever blessing you give will be returned many times over – pennies from heaven.

Credit where credit is due. I pretty much copied this article from Rev. Paul Smith, South Central District Outreach Minister, writing on page 3 in the July-August issue of Lower Lights, the District’s e-newsletter. But I changed the ending. Thanks Paul for your good article. Read Paul’s original ending here and scroll to page 3.