An email headed: YOUR AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENT – was the first rector, Richard Steel, knew about his innovation being used in a best-selling book.

The saga had begun almost two years earlier in November 2012 when the Kirkheaton Parish Church minister caught the country’s imagination by offering a unique challenge.

After telling his parishioners about Jesus’ famous Parable of the Talents he gave 60 of them £10 notes from his own wallet and encouraged them to use the money to create more money.

This would then be used in helping drive a massive restoration scheme.

The story, which was first published in the Examiner, was picked up by the BBC in Leeds, The Daily Mail and eventually Richard ended up being interviewed by BBC’s most famous interviewer John Humphreys himself on BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme.

Somehow some popular American authors heard about his stunt.

The example of his giving £10 notes away for people to use for fundraising had been used in their book to illustrate how a small seed can lead to a big harvest - in his case £550 becoming over £11,000.

Rev Richard Steel, rector of St John's Parish Church, Kirkheaton.
Rev Richard Steel, rector of St John's Parish Church, Kirkheaton.
 

Richard said: “I was amazed when I was contacted by someone from London who wanted to talk to me about the idea.

“He had read the book and thought the idea could help his synagogue raise some money for development, so he asked to come and see me.”

His idea is the subject of a chapter in ‘The small BIG’, the latest book by authors Steve Martin, Noah Goldstein and Robert Cialdini. (who have also written ‘YES, 50 Secrets from the science of persuasion’)

He added: “They use it as an example of how doing something unexpected – in this case handing money out to the congregation rather than taking a collection – can spark a creative response.”

On page159 of the book it says: “The strategy he adopted was both inspirational and extraordinary. It… not only provided his church with the cash it needed to continue its restoration efforts, but also provided a wonderful demonstration of how to successfully deploy a fundamental principle of influence.”

Mr Steel’s idea, based on one of Jesus’ parables, has already been taken up by churches around the country, and also a charity that works with children, Design for Change’

He said: “I’m really pleased that the idea is helping so many other causes.

“I wonder who else might want to use it, now that it is quoted in an international best-seller?”