Our personal libraries are filled with church-growth books, yet many of us here in the Western Church struggle with empty pews and chairs in our worship centers. What’s the secret? Some would answer with the following: charisma in a leader, networking with other churches and ministries to gain resources, knowing the needs and connecting with your community, more prayer meetings, etc. We would have to give a resounding “YES” to each of these. However, there is one item often overlooked: FAITH.
Faith is such an elementary dynamic in God’s kingdom. We often minimize or, worse yet, dismiss its importance. While there is not always a simple answer to experiencing the level of expansion we’re praying for within our church or ministry, Apostle Paul made it very clear that FAITH is a necessary ingredient to see the fruit of it. Here’s how Paul explained this in II Corinthians 1:12-17:
12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. 14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: 15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labors; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, 16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand. 17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
Obviously, there are several dynamic in this passage of scripture. We will spend the next few weeks dissecting this passage, but this week’s leadership blog will be focused upon FAITH. Apostle Paul placed emphasis of FAITH, but he also pointed back to the Church. There must be an equal measure of faith from the pulpit to the back door of the church among its people. So much pressure is placed upon men and women of God to be people of faith and to carry the Church into its future. However, Paul was careful to also emphasize the important of corporate FAITH. Notice what he said: “…but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, 16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you…”
Lynda and I have not always been strong in the area of FAITH. But coming into 2011, our FAITH has increased to believe God for the extra finances needed to touch several nations He has presented to us. I must tell though, increase did not come until our FAITH rose up to the occasion. FAITH is: confidence, trust, conviction of truth, belief, assurance, and fidelity (faithful to whatever you’ve already committed yourself to).
Apostle Paul helps us see the equal emphasis of FAITH in the Church. The principle here is: Equal sacrifice, not necessarily equal giving. Again, he said that when the corporate faith of the Church increases that expansion would take place. This FAITH is applied to the following areas:
1) The believers believe God will bring provision for the vision through them and others
2) The believers trust the Leader is being led by the Holy Spirit
3) The believers have confidence in the leader’s ability to lead them
4) The believers possess the assurance that their leader is God’s man (or woman) - in God’s place - at God’s time
5) The believers illustrate fidelity, meaning remaining faithful to the cause all the way to its completion.
FAITH is the first principle pointed to by Apostle Paul. If your believer is broke, let your cry be as it was for others who followed Jesus: “Master, help my unbelief”. When we possess this FAITH, expansion will come, as promised. Selah!
Posted on Thu, February 3, 2011
by Bill Faught, Jr. filed under