Have We Forgotten Faith?

Yesterday, I had the privilege of sharing a devotion in one of the seminary classes that I am taking. I felt that the Lord was wanting me to share about something that has been on my mind for some time now. It deals with the issue of faith and ministry. Do we (those who are in leadership positions in ministry) function and lead in ministry without using faith? On the surface, this would seem to be sacrilegious, but I would dare to say that there might just be many who attempt to function in ministry without using faith.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

As one reads the above passage, we see that every believer is urged to live their life with the same faith (total dependency upon God) as they did when they trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. In our salvation, we had to come to a point where we realized that there was nothing that we could do to remedy our situation, but rather we were totally dependent upon God to deal with our sin (Ephesians 2:8-9). The rest of our lives from the point on should be marked by that same kind of total dependency upon God.

I am currently a student pastor at a local church. I have, in some form or fashion, been in student ministry for the past ten years. I can honestly say that student ministry can stretch one's faith. I can also honestly say that I have a pretty good idea of what student ministry "should" look like. I know where certain events would fall best on the calendar and what events would probably be a hit. The sad and scary part is that with the experience that God has allowed me to rack up, I can easily fall into a trap of doing ministry without depending on God. I can create messages and series for the youth service... I can set up service projects... plan retreats and camps... but the question that should be ringing through my mind constantly is "Lord, what do you want to do?"

The longer that one is in ministry, the greater the temptation can become to do ministry "the way it's always been done." When we just do the same ol' thing, we eliminate faith from the equation and set ourselves (and our people) up for a tragic conclusion...
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 NIV

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. If we attempt ministry (the work that God wants to do through us) without exercising faith, it will not be pleasing to the Lord. When God calls us to ministry, He is calling us to something that is completely over our heads. Sure, He gifts us for the task, but the results and effects that He wants to see will come only when one steps out of the boat and allows God to do the God-sized task through us.

I would like to encourage any and all followers of Jesus (because if you're a follower/disciple of Jesus then there is a ministry He is calling you to) to make sure that the element of faith is at the forefront of what you are doing. I don't remember where I first heard this, but it was some great advice and really makes you think... if God were to completely step away from your ministry, what would change? Or to put it another way, what in your life/ministry are you attempting that if God doesn't come through in a mighty way as only He could would fail miserably?


mark vanburen said...

Amen....food for thought. If we do everything on our own power we are in trouble. I don't want to end up like Samson where the Spirit of God left him and he didn't even know it. Thanks brother

Anthony said...

You are very welcome.