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It's in the small things...

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4 years ago today, I presented a message to two small congregations in Eastern North Carolina entitled “IT IS NOT THE SIZE OF THE CHURCH YOU ARE IN, BUT THE SIZE OF THE CHURCH IN YOU!” (A variation I concocted from a quote of Gary Busey that he stole from Mark Twain's statement, “It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.”)

The premise of my presentation hatched from Zechariah 4:10 "Do not despise the day of small things." In the world of “BIGGER IS BETTER” and “SUPER-SIZED VALUES”, it seems pretty backward to go "micro" rather than "macro"... it would seem slow progress down rather than ramp it up. But trust me, my experience has been that God uses small things to accomplish His BIG things! 


The great statistician, Ernst Schumacher, said “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” Recently we had the resolve to run a small feeding program for displaced people in Gudele, South Sudan. When you share food with people it is not long-lived. By feeding, you are helping folks in the short, momentary lapse of time and results are hard to measure. It goes against all corporation (and corporate church) success tactics. It lacks the ambitions of sustainability (even though Jesus fed multitudes). This past week I receive a message from a Sudanese refugee that exemplifies the “bigness” in the small things:

 “My name is Doruka Abot Chol from Upper Nile State. On behalf of my family and my children, I say that we have suffered since 2013 from the beginning of the conflict. We lost our properties; my home was destroyed. Even most of my relatives have been killed. We ran to the United Nations' Internally Displaced Persons camps for shelter. After the signing of the peace agreement (which did not hold), I decided to come out from the UN camp to start a new life from zero-point with nothing in hand. Today I am very very happy for pastor Tom and Peter including the leaders of Gudele Church of Christ for distributing food. Non-Government Organizations and government leaders have failed to assist survivors in safety, food, and safe water for drinking. May God Bless those who have partnered with (MERCY PARTNERS and IDES), and may He give you more as you have shown Mercy.” 

Let's be honest... after reading Doruka’s account, aren’t we taken back on how much HOPE “daily bread” can bring?! When we compare food distribution to a mission project like building a church or constructing a school, do we sometimes despise the “day of small things”? 

"Mango" is another great example. (Mango is the name of our weekly discipleship study.) It may seem small with 24 disciples. And it is not a "certificate class"; you will not earn a degree or even learn a particular occupational skill. However, God is doing big things with it! One of our Disciples writes: 

"Great start. I know from experience what knowing God is personally like. I am not at that place anymore... I am not fully surrendered to Him. I love Him and know His truth, but I miss the intimacy of walking with Him daily. The crazy thing is, I know what is missing. He keeps reminding me to 'repent and do the things you did at first'. Sincere Bible study is something that I love but not have done regularly. Mango feels like an answered prayer. Thank you, Lord!"

Question: WHAT ARE the small things that God is doing in your life today? 

Are you embracing the day of small things?

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Mercy Partners, food aid, famine relief, Africa, blog, Tom Kilian of Mercy Partners writes about the impact of small humanitarian aid efforts and projects
Tom Kilian, Founder


Tom was born in South Amboy, New Jersey, and grew up in North Carolina. At age eighteen he was selected for the scientific expedition, "Operation Raleigh" Australia Expedition 9a 1986 (a project spearheaded by Prince Charles of Wales). He pursued theological studies in Elizabeth City, NC where he had met his wife, Sandie. Being an ordained minister, Kilian preached in churches within three states. He studied art at the College of the Albemarle and held craftsmen jobs. Kilian initially used his creativity to raise awareness about the Darfur Genocide by creating an art exhibit in 2008. His initial ambition was to raise support for a project on the border of Darfur.  

    He created the "Darfur Monument" with the vision that proceeds could be used for funding an orphanage or hospital. Humanitarian groups took an interest, inviting Kilian to partner with them so that the plan could be realized. Kilian took an invitation and traveled to Darfur.     

     While working with Darfur's displaced children, Kilian concluded that education itself is not the solution. A "wholistic" approach that provides spiritual, mental and physical healing coupled with tools for self-sufficiency would be a fit pattern to "change the world one life at a time." In 2010, Kilian redirected his efforts to form the charitable, humanitarian organization, "MERCY PARTNERS" which he is currently the Executive Director of.



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