Scale, Percentages and Meaningful Donations

What's a small donation?

People in campus ministry seem to always be raising money.  Staffing costs.  Scholarships.  Supplies.  We don't monetize our service, so we'll always depend on the kindness of strangers ... and friends ... and parents.

And some of us disregard small donations.

But what exactly is a small donation?

Our temptation is to measure donations straight up.  Five thousand dollars ... big donation.  Five dollars ... small donation.  Linear.  Bottom line.

But we need more than money to keep us going.  We need support, encouragement, prayer ... people who join with us in our work.  And if we measure donations straight up, we'll miss something special.

Jesus points to this in Mark 12.  The rich made big donations.  And one little old lady put in two pennies ... literally her two cents.  And Jesus said that she gave more than all the others.

How can one lady's two cents count as more than the big donations of the wealthy?

Percentages need to matter to us.  But what do we do with them?

1) Don't disrespect small donations from folks with tight income.  Our friends who gave us $20/month during a season of limited employment did more for our morale than anybody.  See those donations for what they are - sacrifices from people who are really with you - and treasure them.

2) Don't flinch when wealthy people make big donations.  If someone cares about your ministry and makes six figures, don't be surprised when they give four or even five figure donations.  That's appropriate.  Don't feel guilty.

3) Don't assume that a big donation means a big committment.  This feels weird to write, but scale really matters.  That big donation to you actually the smallest donation they're making that year.

4) Don't think that God favors substance over sacrifice.  It was God in the flesh who noticed the widow giving her two cents.  And God himself models sacrifice over substance.  For our good and for our salvation, he sacrificed greatly, choosing a small and humble crucifixion over great and terrible war as his way of rescuing us from our captivity to sin.

What would change if we measured scale?

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