Joseph Blake, founder of the Juvenile Missionary Society
including a link to his book, The Day of Small Things
I expect that many of us using this site were JMA collectors in our youth. Some of us will have had Grandparents,Parents,children and/or grandchildren who were or are collectors.
If you have ever wondered where the idea of JMA originated, there is a book written by the man responsible.
In 1812 Joseph Blake had an idea for assisting with the involvement of children in the work of the church for both Home and for Overseas Mission.
After a slightly rocky start, eventually in 1841 the concept of the Juvenile Missionary Society was recognised across the Methodist Connexion.
As was so often the case in the 19th Century he was asked to commit his thoughts and experience to a book which could be distributed and used to “spread the word”.
His book was called “The Day of Small Things”.
Despite its age, and a couple of paragraphs with slightly uncomfortable wording to our 21st century ears, it is a inspirational read on the encouraging of the involvement of children in the work of Mission.
To quote just a couple of paragraphs from the book:
“The chief object of these associations is to give a missionary training, and bring our children into love with missions, missionaries, and missionary efforts; the amount raised being only a secondary, though by no means an unimportant, consideration.”
and from the introduction to the book:
“I mention this to show that my great and paramount object has been to awaken attention and call forth immediate co-operation; should this he realized in any measure exceeding that which is now actually manifest, it will excite my gratitude to Almighty God, that I have not laboured in vain, or spent my strength for nought”.
200 years on from his first vision I think we can safely say that he did not labour in vain.
I would encourage you to read the book if at all possible. I would also encourage you to read the discussion paper on the future of JMA attached to the foot of this page.
How we view and “do” mission has significantly evolved over time but I believe that the vision of JMA remains as valid and fruitful in today’s church and world as it was when first conceived.
A copy of the book can be found on the internet archive (which is a wonderful resource for Methodist books), click here for a link to it.
You can read it online or download an electronic book version which is not proof corrected (so there are some typos and omissions in it). However, for my own use, I have created a corrected a version for my e-reader. If anyone would like a copy of the corrected version you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will email you a copy. I have created it in e-pub format but I am able to convert it to Mobi for Kindle if anyone would like that.