There’s a story in the Bible where Jesus points out that the penny given by a poor widow is worth more than the much higher gifts of the wealthy. She, after all, gave richly out of the little that she had, whereas the others gave little from the riches they had.
Sometimes I wonder if it would help if we saw ministry that way: that we wouldn’t compare the pennies against the great riches. We wouldn’t compare the amazing results of some ministries with what might seem like disappointing results from our own ministries.
In watching the Campus Edge group, the first thing I see is that they’ve been doing well. Yet, the numbers are down from last year, the vision is not entirely clear to everyone, the community isn’t quite as good as it used to be. So how can I say it’s been doing well?
Because they’ve been surviving without a campus pastor, one of the most contact factors in a fairly transient population and whose familiar face and name helps a lot with making contacts. A campus pastor is certainly not everything (as I’m thankfully learning!) but he/she does have a huge influence on the nature and functioning of the group.
In the absence of such pastor, I have seen that folks in the Campus Edge group have stepped up, led Bible studies, organised events, invited friends, dreamt and wondered about what kind of pastor fit who they now were and were becoming, went through the search process (and took on the daunting task of calling an “alien”), and have tried hard to keep this ministry going well even though many of those involved work crazy long weeks and dwell amidst all the stresses of grad school.
On top of that, the group has been very welcoming. I see how they care about each other. I see that people are interested in wondering about how the ministry can be even better (although a bit less work would also be nice, I imagine). In all these things (and I expect to see even more!), I see riches. Perhaps some might see this past semester and a half as being more pennies than great riches, but then I would argue that sometimes pennies count more.