I’ve been reading the Just Church by Jim Martin. He gives a great reminder of how faith is supposed to work. From p. 14:
Belief: deciding that what we know about God is really true.
Trust: deciding it’s safe to act on the above beliefs.
Faith = Belief + Trust
I’d like to apply this handy expression to our own situation at PFM:
Belief: God has called Portage Free Methodist to be part of the expanding Kingdom of God, that Jesus builds His church, and that we are to follow the leading of the Spirit in ministering to the world.
Trust: After seeking God in prayer and working out a bunch of details, we’re going to add another Sunday morning worship service that makes space for growth.
In other words, we believe that God blesses & expands His kingdom, and we trust that He is calling us to boldly trust in our belief about Him. Belief + Trust = faith.
Doesn’t it make sense, then, to humbly expect that God will grow His church? Indeed. However, it requires us to meet God where He is.
– We meet God daily in submission and reverence to His leadership, to experience His love and grace and to be filled with His presence.
– We wait for God to move, not jumping ahead, but staying in step with the Spirit.
– We believe that God is working behind the scenes, which means that we may not see incremental results. Nevertheless, we press on.
If we keep our priorities straight (Matthew 6:33), we will have the proper expectations. I don’t know tomorrow, but I know God will supply all that we need for today, and He shows no pattern that would lead us to believe He will be letting us down tomorrow.
Faith isn’t easy. Faith expresses what is not yet tangible. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).
What, then are our fair expectations? We believe…
– that people will come to faith (not just belief, but belief+trust) in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This is the mission of the church that Jesus builds.
– that people will be drawn to the community of faith that is Portage Free Methodist Church because we lift up the cross of Christ every week. This is the vision of the church that Jesus builds.
– that people will experience spiritual formation as they gather for weekly worship, connect in small groups, and take the command to go and serve in Jesus’ name. This is the purpose of the church that Jesus builds.
– that the region (Portage, SW Michigan) and world will be better because a bunch of people who love the Lord also love the people of the world and want to do something to make it better — which is the gradual but assured expansion of God’s Kingdom on earth. This is the anticipated outcome of the church that Jesus builds.
Isn’t that fair? Isn’t it right to expect that God can do this through a little church that seeks Him, that believes, and that trusts enough to do something by faith?
I think so. And… I think this is way more meaningful than sitting in a pew, passin’ time.