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We all measure success differently. In the church we often measure success by the things we see happening within our own four walls. Is attendance up? What about tithing? Do we have enough programs to draw in people of all ages to our church?

God never measures success the way we do. His measurement for success is in our answer to two questions: Do you love Me, and are you faithful in the little things?

Ithaca Open Bible Church is a very small congregation of about 25 to 30 members located in a town that doesn’t even have a stoplight! Yet God has used Ithaca’s women’s group of about seven ladies as well as the church as a whole to impact missions around the world for many years.

In the past two years our church has purchased the land next to the church to expand our opportunity for outreach and has paid off a five-year land contract in less than eight months. We restored an old shed on that property and built a strong unified men’s group in the process. Other members of our community donated to the project as well.

Pastor Dave prays for people in India.

Pastor Dave prays for people in India.

Our pastor, David Fox, has challenged us to get outside the four walls of our church and minister elsewhere. For several years we have ministered in two different nursing homes in two different states. We have established awesome relationships with ones who feel forgotten, and we have seen some of them come to the Lord. One woman who lived in one of the homes was very ill when we first started our ministry there. She gave her heart to the Lord and asked to be baptized on the spot. Pastor Dave baptized her with a cup of water. Miraculously, today she is living on her own in an apartment and no longer needs the nursing home.

Over the past two years we have started small community groups called “The Well” in two other cities. These groups are great not only for outreach but also for offering a time of refreshing through worship. While these ministries are ongoing, Pastor Dave has been called to the mission field several
times. His recent trip to India and Sri Lanka with a team of ministers saw more than 100 souls come to Christ, many of whom had been steeped in Hindu culture. Dave witnessed miracles of healing and deliverance, and he has made lasting bonds with pastors and students of the Word that will open doors for future ministry in those countries.

While Pastor Dave was gone, a pump that operates one of the toilets in our church building went out. We have two other bathrooms, so this was not an emergency, but it still needed to be fixed. Nonetheless, to put things into perspective, our pastor was preaching at a church in one of the villages that didn’t even have an outhouse. When Dave returned home, he challenged our congregation to give enough money to build an outhouse for the church in India as well as pay for the pump here at home. The money came in within the week, and now that village church will have a proper outhouse!

I could go on about the miracles that have taken place in and through this tiny congregation, but I think you get the picture. It doesn’t take a large congregation to make an enormous impact. It only takes loving God and being faithful in the small things. He is the one who takes the little we have and multiplies it beyond our wildest imagination!

About the Author

MSG Wood Mary Wood 0319Mary A. Wood is a hairdresser, author, and associate pastor of Ithaca Open Bible Church in Arcanum, Ohio.

About The Author

Open Bible's Publication Since 1920

Since 1920, Message of the Open Bible has been a medium to celebrate all the wonderful things God is doing through His people in Open Bible Churches – from personal testimonies, to news-related stories, to inspirational articles by quality authors.