Last night, it was my privilege to have Pat Creed as a guest speaker. If my count is correct, this is at least the sixteenth time that my dear friend has spoken for me. Most of these speaking engagements would have been to keynote an annual faith promise booster Sunday. Pat has helped various churches that I have pastored raise tens of thousands of dollars for world evangelism. His sermon last night was timely and vintage Pat Creed. The altar was full of people who were asking God to stretch their faith in missionary giving.
As I watched last night unfold, I was reminded of when Pat and I first met back in 1994 when I ministered on the outskirts of Philadelphia. Our church was very skeptical of the idea of “faith promise” – largely because of the way it had been presented. Pat walked me through the concept and presented several solid reasons why I should use my pastoral office to implement this method of missionary giving.
First, faith promise stresses individual soul liberty. When I allow a church board or finance committee to determine the percentage of my income that will be given to world evangelism, I am allowing someone else to make a major spiritual decision for me. God’s leaders should be leading people to get alone with God to make major decisions for themselves.
Second, faith promise allows me to see the miraculous hand of God personally. On numerous occasions, God has impressed Karen and I to give a certain figure. We have in turn stepped back and seen God miraculously supply the funds. On one occasion, God completely eradicated our mortgage payments so that we could give the money to faith promise.
Faith promise, in addition, forces me to make individual commitments to God for financial participation in world evangelism. Often the idea of “committing” or “pledging” is used to criticize faith promise. We are, however, constantly forced to make financial pledges. If we have electricity, we have pledged to make payments to the utility company. If we rent or buy a house, we are forced to make financial pledges to a landlord or mortgage company. It is really not that we are apprehensive about making financial pledges. It is that that we averse to making financial pledges to God.
Faith promise also creates an atmosphere of excitement in the church. How often people have sat on the edge of their seats as pledges were tallied and goals were met and as missionaries were added to the budget! People have constantly testified to the fact that God has done tremendous things in their family through financial investment in worldwide evangelism.
And so, though I have often said it, I say it again. Your missionary conference is the most important event in your church’s calendar year. Don’t roll your eyes and say, “Here we go again.” Open your heart with wild excitement and rejoice that you have the opportunity once again to show the world the commitment of your love and to show the Lord the level of trust you have in His divine promises. What a great week we anticipate at GRIBT. Here we go again!