FAITH PROMISE: THE APOSTOLIC METHOD
By: Edwin E. Judd
I. “GO YE” MEANS YOU
“Everyone that is not a missionary, needs a missionary.” It is inconsistent to speak of being a true Christian and not a missionary at heart. The risen Lord’s commission to His disciples to “go ye into all the world” is as universal to believers as His promises of salvation to “whosoever.”
Jesus placed supreme importance upon the Great Commission. Ten times He appeared to His followers between His resurrection and ascension. On five of these occasions, He spoke of their going, His sending or the fact that the gospel was to be preached in all the world. “Go ye. . .and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19). “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). “As my father has sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). “…Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations. . .and ye are witnesses of these things”
(Luke 24:47, 48). “Ye shall receive power. . .and ye shall be witnesses. . world” (Acts 1:8).
Every believer who would dare to identify himself personally in the “ye” of the promised power must be willing to find himself included in the “ye” of believers as are the promises of salvation that include them in the “whosoever.”
How can every believer “go. . .into all the world”? How can one identify himself with the Commission and fulfill his responsibility?
Most certainly for some it is the will and call of God for them to literally “go.” However, it should be quickly realized that every believer is not called to be a “going ‘ missionary. This does not exclude them from the Commission. According to the Apostolic pattern, when God called certain men to be “going ‘ missionaries, He called upon the church collectively to send them (Acts 13:1-4). When the “sent” missionaries completed their service abroad, they returned to report to those who had sent them (Acts
14:26). All were involved in the sending. All were included in the sense of accomplishment when the results were reported.
Though all are not sent, all can be involved in the sending. In this sense, each one can go by proxy and thus obey the commandment, This wider realm of involvement is first of all in prayer. But tangibly it is in the ministry of GIVING in order that those called to GO may be SENT by the church collectively.
No apology is offered for seeking to encourage a greater involvement in GIVING. The Scriptures declare, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Through the avenue of GIVING, one is first of all a blessing to the cause of Christ and to those whose present lives and eternal destinies will be affected as a result. Secondly, to GIVE assures the blessing of God upon the GIVER. These blessings return in direct proportion to the measure of GIVING (Luke 6:38). Therefore, to encourage an individual or a congregation to become more deeply involved in GIVING is to lead them into the twofold path of blessing-outward and inward.
Through the ministry of GIVING for the sending of the gospel into all the world,” each participant shares the sweet sense of involvement, obedience and the satisfaction of knowing that he has become one of the collective “ye” in the “go ye” of the command. He personally thrills to know he is doing that which is pleasing in the sight of his Lord and that of a surety he will hear Him say, “Well done” because he has done well!
It is the purpose of this booklet to present the FAITH PROMISE PLAN as a method by which EVERY BELIEVER can identify himself with the FULFILLMENT of the Great Commission through the ministry of GIVING. This plan is of apostolic origin. It is as scriptural as tithing. It is proven in practice.
It is consistent. It is effective.
Pastor, if you as a minister of the apostolic message seek to see every man receive an apostolic experience, then dare to take a step of faith and lead your flock into the pattern of APOSTOLIC ACTION-fulfillment of the commission “to all the world.”
II. WHAT IS “FAITH PROMISE” GIVING?
Let it be said first of all that FAITH PROMISE is not a gimmick or a mere play on words. Neither is it a passing fad that is with us today but that will require more and more promotion to keep it working.
The FAITH PROMISE concept is a sound, scriptural practice based upon the method of the Apostle Paul. The use of this method is found in nearly every strong “missionary” church or “missionary” movement. Some outside the ranks of Pentecost grasped this concept decades ago and through consistent practice of its principles they contribute many times more per member to their missionary programs than does the United Pentecostal Church at this time. Much of the phenomenal increase in foreign missions giving in the United Pentecostal Church in recent years has resulted from pastors
grasping this concept and daring to lead their congregations into the same realm of faith regarding their material possessions as they must have in their spiritual lives.
The FAITH PROMISE is a new dimension in the spiritual exercise of faith. It is a covenant of partnership with God in a material way for the spreading of the gospel to “all the world.”
Specifically, a FAITH PROMISE is a promise to God that by His enablement, one will give a certain amount to foreign missions through the foreign missionary offerings of his local church. This commitment is generally for a twelve month period and is defined in terms of a consistent weekly or
monthly offering for this purpose.
The concept is based upon the two elements in its name-FAITH and PROMISE.
It is more than a mere pledge program. FAITH PROMISE leads a man into a vertical relationship between himself and God. One’s attention is upward. A pledge on the other hand, often leads a man only into a horizontal relationship between himself and another man or a group of men. A pledge
can be very mercenary, mundane and burdensome. A FAITH PROMISE is a spiritual, faith building experience with joyful, enriching results. It can be expected to intensify spirituality and lead a man into a genuine sense of being “used of God” for the completion of “the unfinished task” of world evangelism.
The FAITH aspect of the FAITH PROMISE lies in the fact that the one making the promise usually does not have the amount of commitment at the time he makes it. He puts himself in a place where he must trust God to provide it. He must exercise faith in the receiving and giving of his material
possessions. At this material level, each individual finds opportunity to increase his faith in God as he dares to venture into the ministry of GIVING and RECEIVING.
“God will be no man’s debtor.” This being true, then man cannot out-give God. God’s law of increasing return will restore more than the seed that is sown. “He who sows generously and that blessing may come to someone, will also reap generously and with blessing” (II Corinthians 9:6 Amplified N.T.).
The FAITH in the FAITH PROMISE is confidence in the promises of God and the faithfulness of God to keep these promises.
The PROMISE aspect of the FAITH PROMISE is acting in the faith previously discussed. It is purposing in one’s heart what he intends to give by divine enablement and then binds himself to that purpose of heart by registering his commitment. This PROMISE is made first of all to God. It is registered with the church to interpret it into concrete action.
Since the PROMISE is predicated upon divine enablement, the human obligation can surely be fulfilled; that is, to trust God to supply and exercise a faithful stewardship over that which is supplied. If one does these things, there need be no worry of inability to fulfill the promise. God is faithful!
However, in order to encourage those with weak faith to take the initial step of involvement, it should be understood that the PROMISE is not legally binding should there be an inability to perform. Records may be kept for tax purposes, etc., but there should be no sense of pressure put upon any person throughout the life of the PROMISE. It should be the goal of the church and the pastor to create a spiritual atmosphere in which one’s faith can be exercised and he can see God work to provide.
FAITH PROMISE GIVING begins with a commitment and a wise, proper stewardship of that which one already has in his power to give. From this base, one is able to move into the realm of faith where he can believe God to supply even more that he might have it to give.
A FAITH PROMISE is a faith covenant to give, as God enables, a specific amount to missions through the missionary treasury of the local church.
III. IT WORKS!
The proof of any theory is, “Does it work?” It can be declared without hesitation that the FAITH PROMISE CONCEPT, as set forth in this booklet and used for the support of foreign missions, WORKS!
IT WORKS FOR THE INDIVIDUAL
FAITH PROMISE works for the individual. When one acknowledges his responsibility to the Commission and purposes in his heart to be used of God in its fulfillment, God is going to honor that commitment and make it possible. When one takes God as a partner in the material aspect of his life and practices that partnership, he most certainly will be blessed.
FAITH PROMISE starts with dedicating a portion of what one already has to the unselfish cause of foreign missions on a consistent, regular basis. To this practice of stewardship, one might add a bit more as a “measure of joyful sacrifice” for a thank offering. When this stratum of giving is reached, let him add a third dimension to his commitment-the dimension of FAITH-according to his `measure of faith.” For example, one might be able to comfortably give $20.00 monthly from regular income and purpose in his heart to do so. Then, in the spirit of sacrifice, he might add another $10.00 monthly with a view to some self denial in order to be able to give it. These steps are good and must be the starting point of FAITH PROMISE.
Finally, to get involved in faith and trusting the Lord, our example adds another $10.00 monthly for a total of $40.00 per month for foreign missions.
In the above example, our donor faithfully sets aside $20.00 from his regular budget and $10.00 for his sacrifice of love. He looks to the Lord for His special provision of the final $10.00. In so doing, he makes himself a candidate for a miracle. He puts his faith into practice and it works!
Many are the testimonies of job promotions, salary increases, new employment, extra overtime pay, bonuses, increased commissions, unexpected savings, income from unexpected sources, prospering businesses and even more outstanding miracles of increase in the lives of these persons.
Needless to say, as it happens and is related to God’s faithfulness, faith is strengthened and one grows in his relationship with God.
“There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself” (Proverbs 11:24-25).
FAITH PROMISE works for the individual!
IT WORKS FOR THE CHURCH
When a pastor, like a good shepherd, leads his congregation into this exercise of stewardship and faith, the blessings of the people flow together so that the entire scope of the church is blessed. In past years,
some of our UPCI pastors were encouraged in this practice by the testimonies of other non-UPCI churches. However, by now a good number of our own churches have proven that the concept works in practice. Most of the churches of our fellowship that rank high in foreign missionary support, either in totals given or permember ratios, use the FAITH PROMISE plan.
The pastors and records of these churches testify to the effectiveness of the plan, first in the increase of foreign missionary support and, secondly, in spiritual, financial and possibly numerical growth of the
church itself. As the spirit of giving in faith is activated by FAITH PROMISE commitment for foreign missions, the same spirit becomes active in other areas of giving. Contributions to the local church and other worthy programs increase. Spiritual growth transpires as faith is at work. Church growth frequently occurs and with it local church income in tithes and offerings increase. The abundant blessings of God are poured out according to the promise of Malachi 3:10.
Human reasoning will say, “One can cut the pie into only so many pieces.” This seems so logical. Human reasoning also recognizes the impossibility of feeding the multitude from the lad’s loaves and fishes. However, Jesus, through His disciples, demonstrated His ability to multiply available resources with an abundance left over. So it is in the matter of church finances. As the church under inspired pastoral leadership becomes involved in the wholehearted doing of God’s plan, God will multiply the seed sown, supply every need and add a surplus (11 Corinthians 9:8-11).
Pastor, you can lead your church into the place of being a great blessing. In so doing, each one who participates will be individually blessed. The interaction of individual blessings sets the local church aflame and the congregation is collectively blessed.
FAITH PROMISE works for the church!
IT WORKS FOR OTHERS. . .IT WILL WORK FOR YOU
If you find it difficult to take the step of faith necessary to launch FAITH PROMISE in your church, why not seek the testimony of your fellow pastors who have done it. Anyone in the Foreign Missions Division will be happy to discuss this with you and provide references to those who can positively testify that FAITH PROMISE WORKS!
IV. WHAT MAKES IT WORK?
The thesis of the preceding chapter is unexplainable except for one word-God! Who can fathom His ways? How did the water become wine? How did the bread and fish multiply? How did the cruse of oil and meal barrel always have enough in them? What caused the widow’s oil to flow until every vessel
was filled? These were miracles. The God Who wrought them is the Jesus we serve. He is just the same. It will still work.
The dynamics of FAITH PROMISE are many fold. They all relate to a common principle-commitment in faith to do God’s will in God’s way and reliance upon Him for the enablement to carry out that commitment. “We are laborers together with Him.’
Specifically, FAITH PROMISE works because:
1. FAITH PROMISE is established upon a scriptural precedent. It is as scripturally sound as the tithing principle.
When the Apostle Paul desired to raise offerings to meet the needs of the famine stricken saints in Palestine, he originated this plan. The saints of the church made commitments one year in advance. The extent of these commitments was known throughout the churches so that others were also stimulated to responsiveness (II Corinthians 9:2). The local ingathering was to be on a frequent regular who lived in poverty, shared the basis (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). Those who lived in poverty shared the ministry of giving with those who had plenty (11 Corinthians 8:2) and found a SUPERNATURAL ability to give (8:3). Their giving was voluntary (9:7), without coercion (9:5), cheerful (9:7), and the result of a personal commitment in advance (9:7).
Paul used the same plan in all of the churches-Galatia (1 Corinthians 16:1), Macedonia (11 Corinthians 8:1) and Greece (9:1 ff. The making of commitments for the cause was preceded by an act of personal dedication to Christ (8:5). They acted from the heart.
2. The making of a FAITH PROMISE acknowledges an obligation to the duty of the Great Commission. The commitment to become involved in GIVING accepts the divine imperative of “GO YE” as applying personally. Wise stewardship of material possessions becomes the beginning of personal involvement.
3. The making of a FAITH PROMISE evidences a desire to do that which is pleasing to one’s Lord. From the sense of responsibility, one is moved into the realm of desire. From the obligation of duty, one moves to the higher motivation of love. It is not merely doing what one “must” do. Such motivation lifts the weight of burden and causes one to rejoice in the privilege of doing that which is pleasing to his heavenly Father. Because one loves Him, he obeys Him. Because one loves Him, he is motivated to please Him, voluntarily and cheerfully-ever thankful for the opportunity to bring delight to Him Whom he loves.
4. The FAITH PROMISE is made on the basis of faith in God’s faithfulness. God’s promises are taken at face value. The law of increasing return is put into effect by the act of faith-commitment to give. The one making the FAITH PROMISE may not have in his possession, or know the source from which
his offering will come, but with expressed faith in God to supply, he obligates himself to trust God for the provision. God is faithful! When faith is exercised in this faithfulness, it will work!
5. The FAITH PROMISE leads one into commitment. Who has not been stirred with desire to help and moved with resolution to act when challenged with the need of foreign missions? Too frequently, however, when the immediate stimulus of emotion is gone, the desire to help falls away and the
resolution to act goes unfulfilled. Paul called upon “every man” to purpose “in his heart” and “so let him give” (11 Corinthians 9:7). This predetermination of one’s course of action and commitment to it is a key to the success of the FAITH PROMISE PLAN.
The same principles whereby one invests in things material are applied to investments in things eternal. An investment or savings program that works effectively requires a previous commitment to the making of regular deposits. Any acquisition of a home, car or other material possession requires a previous commitment or regular payment. When one has so committed himself to a program of investment, saving or installment buying, he has a reason for earning, saving and even sacrificing in order to meet his commitments.
So it is in the matter of FAITH PROMISE GIVING. The previous commitment to invest in the propagation of the gospel; the planned program for giving that others might go, preach and baptize believers; the predetermined purpose of heart to be personally involved in the “GO YE” of the Great
Commission give one a strong motivation to earn, save and sacrifice. He can relate his occupation on the job to the fulfillment of his duty before Christ. He can identify his personal sacrifices and savings with achievement of things of far greater value than any material acquisition. It begins with purpose of heart.
6. A FAITH PROMISE leads to consistent, frequent, individual involvement. When “every man” does something regularly and often, the result is beyond one’s imagination. This is one of the dynamics of FAITH PROMISE GIVING. Every man, woman, boy or girl can do something. From the dollars of the
adult to the dimes of the children, everyone participates. From the checks of the businessman to the change of the widow, God honors faith and provides the wherewith to be able to do what He said, “Give!”
The performance of FAITH PROMISE GIVING should be made convenient. Some churches encourage weekly FAITH PROMISE OFFERINGS. There should be an ingathering at least monthly. Special offering envelopes should be made available. People should be encouraged to honor God when He has provided the money to give.
7. FAITH PROMISE GIVING ensures an increasing return. Based upon the law of sowing and reaping, one can expect a harvest in proportion to the planting-sparse planting produces scant crops abundant sowing assures a bountiful harvest (11 Corinthians 9:6). Giving to bless others is a condition to the
promise that “God will supply all your needs” (Philippians 4:19), and His word promises “sufficiency in all things” so that one may “abound in every good work” (charitable donation-Amplified N.T., II Corinthians 9:8).
God, on the basis of one’s promise to share the harvest with His work of missions, will provide the seed to sow, the bread to eat and will multiply the “sown” seed and “increase the fruits.” “Thus you will be enriched in all things and in every way, so that you can be generous” (II Corinthians 9:11 Amplified N.T.).
8. FAITH PROMISE GIVING for foreign missions is totally unselfish. Many other worthy investments in the cause of Christ can be expected to bring return to the church or individual-a better, more comfortable place of worship, an increased local congregation, a stronger organization from which to draw additional resources, etc. The church’s giving to “the regions beyond” can only hope to cause “thanksgiving unto God” from the hearts of those who thereby hear the gospel, believe and obey it. It is
this unselfish aspect of “foreign missions giving” that assures God’s blessing in return. See Luke 14:12-14.
FAITH PROMISE GIVING harnesses the dynamics of faith, duty, love, commitment, consistency and the sure promises of God. It cannot fail! It works!
V. HOW TO GET STARTED
There are many ways to introduce FAITH PROMISE GIVING into your church. The important thing is to somehow get started.
You can plan for a local missionary convention of several days duration. This takes much planning and advanced preparation. For pastors and churches that are able and ready to sponsor such an event, this is the ultimate opportunity for the introduction of FAITH PROMISE GIVING.
However, not every pastor or church is prepared and knowledgeable enough about an effective foreign missionary program in the local church to step initially into such an ambitious program. In many-perhaps most-situations, it is more effective to have a FAITH PROMISE RALLY with the aid of a
speaker who understands the FAITH PROMISE CONCEPT, has experienced it in action and who can inform and inspire your people to involvement. This can be done in a single service. At least two services in succession are better-the first for the introduction of the plan and the upbuilding of faith and the second for the receiving of an enthusiastic response.
The third alternative as a starting point is for the pastor himself to lead his own congregation into the blessing of this kind of giving. By proper personal preparation, and the preparation of the people, this can be an effective starting point. Any church, anywhere, of any size, can thus become involved in this ministry of FAITH GIVING and can share in the blessing derived thereby.
A stream will rise no higher than its source; neither will a church progress beyond the point to which its pastor leads it. For any church, therefore, to perform at its best in FAITH PROMISE GIVING, its pastor must lead the way.
First of all, be informed. Be informed about the need of the foreign mission field, the responsibility of every believer toward it, what is being done by the church collectively, the results that are being achieved, and most of all. . .what you and your church can and should be doing to help. Be informed about the FAITH PROMISE PLAN, what it is, how it works and what to expect.
Secondly, grasp the FAITH CONCEPT of FAITH PROMISE GIVING. This is the key to the miraculous result. It may require an act of faith on the pastor’s part to encourage more generous giving beyond the local needs. There will be the temptation to say, “Wait until the mortgage is paid off. Wait until the pastor is adequately supported. Why send money abroad when there is so much need at home?” Here is where you, the pastor, must exercise faith in the promise of God and believe that if you and your congregation will give to others, God will multiply your seed and provide bread for the sower. Grasp the faith concept! Act upon it! Encourage your people to do so! You will all be blessed because you did.
PREPARE YOUR PEOPLE
This is a pastoral responsibility. The desired response will only come from people with prepared minds and hearts. Begin by preaching missionary responsibility from your pulpit. Cause your people to know that missions involvement is more than an accessory to the church-it is THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH.
Talk missions from the pulpit, before your Bible class, your young people and your workers’ meetings. Give reports of happenings on the mission fields. Call attention to reports in THE PENTECOSTAL HERALD. Obtain a free supply of GLOBAL WITNESS from Foreign Missions Division for distribution to your people bi-monthly.
Lead your people into a ministry of intercessory prayer for missionaries and missionary needs. Include missions in your pulpit prayers. Include missions in your pastoral requests. Call on others to pray for missions in the prayer meetings.
Involve your people by making a church enrollment in Partners In Missions if you are not already subscribed. Let them know their responsibility to this enrollment. Let them feel a part of fulfillment. Report to them of the newsletters received from your missionary partners.
Lead your people into a place of deep personal commitment to Christ and His cause. (“But first gave their own selves unto God” 11 Corinthians 8:5.) Such a commitment will prepare their hearts for the step of faith in the stewardship of their possessions.
All of this can and should be done by the pastor. He may enlist the help of others. He may have committees at work and get many involved. BUT. . .the delegation of responsibility should not sacrifice the prestige of PASTORAL LEADERSHIP. If “the mission of the church is missions,” it is worthy of the
attention of the church’s leader.
Most importantly, the pastor should be prepared to lead his people in making the first FAITH PROMISE.
PREPARATION FOR FAITH PROMISE GIVING
When through all or some of the preceding suggestions, the pastor has directed the attention of his saints to missions and their responsibility to it, then he can lead them easily into FAITH PROMISE GIVING.
Begin to preach FAITH with respect to giving and receiving.
Convince your church leaders that FAITH PROMISE GIVING will be a blessing to the church. Your church board, secretary-treasurer, departmental leaders and Sunday school teachers will hold the key to a successful response. If you can include them in the launching of the plan and the setting of some
goals, they will be the first to respond and will help with the follow through.
ESTABLISH A GOAL
Progress can only be measured in relation to a known objective. The setting of realistic and challenging goals is very important. Such goals should not be so high as to be discouraging (they can always be pushed upwards). On the other hand, they should present a challenge.
It would be wise to establish a congregational goal of FAITH PROMISE GIVING by figuring “x” number of dollars per average Sunday school attendance for the year or month. It has already been said that local church leaders and even the entire congregation should have a voice in setting desirable goals-then they will feel responsible to help reach them.
INFORMING THE CONGREGATION
Free printed materials on FAITH PROMISE GIVING are available from the Foreign Missions Division for distribution to your people. These materials present the basic ideas of FAITH PROMISE GIVING in concise form. You should request copies for each adult, young person and child who is old enough to
In services prior to the scheduled time of response, distribute this material. Go over it carefully with your people. Explain the FAITH PROMISE CONCEPT-or preach a whole sermon on it. Request that they read the material and pray over the matter.
If their hearts have been prepared, they will want to respond. The only question now will be. . .HOW? . . .and HOW MUCH?
RECEIVING THE RESPONSE
This should be a “spiritual” exercise. Cause your people to relate their substance to their life. Help them understand that in promising to give wages, they are actually giving themselves.
Encourage all to participate by turning in a FAITH PROMISE. Even the very small commitment is a beginning. The FAITH PROMISES of children should not be overlooked. Dimes in childhood will be dollars in adulthood. The poor should be encouraged to plant some seed along with those who have plenty.
All should be encouraged to “stretch” themselves slightly beyond their known ability to give so they must trust and sacrifice to meet their commitment. This is where the blessing originates.
In an atmosphere of worship, inspiration and rejoicing, have your people bring their FAITH PROMISES to the altar or a prepared place as an act of personal dedication.
They do not need to all come at once. When a few have been brought, have them totaled and give a report. DO NOT CALL NAMES OR IDENTIFY THE AMOUNTS INDIVIDUALS HAVE PROMISED. Continue in the attitude of worship, singing and consecration with appropriate words of encouragement until all have responded who will. Extend the total of the FAITH PROMISES into a combined annual figure.
Thank God and rejoice together in what He is going to help you do in the year ahead through the ministry of FAITH PROMISE GIVING for foreign missions.
VI. FOLLOW THROUGH
One reason pastors appreciate the FAITH PROMISE PLAN of foreign missionary giving is that it takes the pressure of promotion and decision making out of receiving the monthly missionary offering. With the FAITH PROMISE decision made once each year, the encouragement to perform is all that is needed. Pastors who find themselves leading their flocks into this perpetual fulfillment of the Great Commission find it personally exciting and satisfying.
A few basic principles, if locally applied to your foreign missions program, will assure the continuing success of your FAITH PROMISE PROGRAM.
1. Make it easy to perform. A time of special emphasis for the ingathering of the FAITH PROMISE OFFERING should be planned in the monthly church calendar. Traditionally, this is the first Sunday of the month. However, your people should not have to wait until then to give if they have their offering in hand.
Make provision for giving the FAITH PROMISE OFFERING at any time. The Foreign Missions Division will provide a packet of twelve monthly Faith Promise envelopes for each member of your church that makes a Faith Promise commitment. These envelopes may be kept at home with other financial records and the appropriate monthly envelope may be used by the donor for the giving and proper identification of his FAITH PROMISE. The use of this packet of Faith Promise envelopes encourages consistency and provides a subtle reminder month by month of one’s commitment to foreign missions.
2. Faithfully disburse the funds for the designated purpose. Your people will be encouraged to give as they see their offerings “go.” Disbursement of your foreign missionary offerings should be done at least monthly so the money can be put immediately to work winning souls. Report this sending of funds back to your people so they will know.
3. Report to the people how much is given and where it is sent. In addition to a pastoral report from the pulpit and a possible printed report in the church bulletin, provide some type of graphic chart to show progress in giving.
A large thermometer type chart is traditional for this purpose. This should provide for reporting the annual goal. It can be moved up monthly with monthly markers indicating the various stages of progress. An additional feature can show what the FAITH PROMISES were projected to be each month. This will give a basis to determine the progress of performance in relation to the projected promise.
A different type of Faith Promise progress chart is available from the Foreign Missions Division upon request.
4. Enroll with several Partners In Missions. FAITH PROMISE GIVING will help you determine what to expect in your foreign missions offerings. You may not wish to commit all of this in Partners in Missions support until you determine the regularity of performance. You may also wish to reserve some of the foreign missionary giving to designate to special projects on the foreign field. The important thing is to get the money to work in some specific way so your people can identify their giving to specific accomplishments.
5. Share the missionaries’ letters with your people. Some churches prepare digests from these letters in the church bulletin or a special monthly missionary letter to the saints just before “Missionary Sunday.” Some pastors have adopted the policy of using the preaching time on “Missionary Sunday” for the reading of excerpts from missionary NEWSLETTERS, talking missions, preaching missions and having special prayer for the requests from the field. This report to your people lets them relate their giving to
achievement and burden abroad. They share the reward of accomplishment by knowing that they have had a part in making such reports possible.
6. Provide for an attractive missionary interest center for the whole church. This should provide space for the display of Partners In Missions certificates, missionary NEWSLETTERS and other items of missionary interest. Appoint a committee or a capable person to keep this up-to-date, fresh and attractive.
7. Encourage continuance in performance. Let your missions program provide a constant reminder of the FAITH PROMISE goals. Don’t dun. Don’t pressure. If there are those having difficulty in meeting their personal goals, encourage prayer and specific trust in God to provide the means. This is where the FAITH PROMISE begins to do a spiritual work. God will be faithful. If the believer will be faithful, a means will be provided. Faith will be increased.
8. Involve your church in the deeper ministry of intercession. Keep missionary requests before your people. Be specific. Call names. Mention needs. Missionary praying should be more than a routine “God bless the missionaries.” Too often it adds up to something like this, “God, remember what’s-his-name in you-know where.”
Because they have invested in missions, your people will be interested in missions.
One pastor has placed decorative cork tiles around the walls of the prayer room in his church. These are at eye level when kneeling. The Partners In Missions certificates are hung just above these cork boards. The missionaries’ current NEWSLETTERS are displayed where intercessors can read them in a prayerful atmosphere and intercede at that very moment. Such a prayer ministry will produce REVIVAL ABROAD and at the altars of the local church.
9. Continue to give the missions cause the prestige of pastoral leadership throughout the year. This is not just a department of the church. This is the focal point of the purpose of the whole church-every department-every member.
RENEW “FAITH PROMISES” YEARLY
The perpetual success of the program depends upon annual renewal. Your original FAITH PROMISES were taken for one year. Many will have learned the blessing of consistent giving and will want to enlarge their FAITH PROMISES. Some will have seen God provide to the point they will want to stretch their faith a little farther so it can grow.
There will be those who “had to be shown” and who did not enroll the first time out of fear of failure, lack of enthusiasm or lack of vision. They will have seen others blessed. Their vision will have been enlarged. They will want to join the ranks of the blessed.
There will be new converts or those coming to age who should be enlisted. For these and other reasons, the pastor should plan for the renewal of commitments annually.
Local circumstances will dictate the best method. You may wish to use one of the following occasions:
1. The visit of the missionary. With proper advanced preparation by the pastor, this provides a good atmosphere for response.
What a fitting act of personal dedication at the close of a missionary’s appeal-the making of a FAITH PROMISE for the next year!
2. A special consecration service. With local planning and pastoral preaching this can provide the setting for the renewal of past commitments and the making of new ones. The New Year’s Watch Night Service is an ideal time for such a FORWARD LOOK.
3. A Faith Promise Rally. You may wish to call in an outside speaker for the occasion-a fellow pastor, a district or a general official can help.
4. A local Foreign Missions Convention. The size and resources of the local church will dictate the feasibility and scope of a several-day or weekend Foreign Missions Convention. In some cases, joint conventions are planned by two or more churches in close proximity. In this way they can share the
cost of the meeting and give the missionary personnel more exposure in the same amount of limited time.
In some cases it has been possible to arrange simultaneous conventions among two or three churches within driving distance of each other. The convention personnel can rotate on a predetermined schedule among these churches during the course of the conventions so that the widest exposure is given in the shortest period of time.
The basic concept of the missionary convention must be kept in mind and be a guide to any arrangement-its purpose is to give missions exposure to the laymen of the local church. It must be kept close to the home church setting in order to reach the local saints with its influences. It should
have as its goal the final response of personal dedication and the making of the FAITH PROMISE commitment.
VII. WHAT TO EXPECT
When you institute FAITH PROMISE GIVING for foreign missions in your church and faithfully follow through in the fellowship of financial partnership with God and His ambassadors abroad, you can expect some definite results.
1. The total response of your congregation will probably exceed your expectation. When the FAITH PROMISES are totaled, you may be shocked at the prospect of such an amount being given by your people for the investment in the field afar. You may question “if it will come in.” You may question how
the local needs will still be met. Here is a test of your faith. You have told your people that “God will not be their debtor.” You have preached, “Give and it shall be given unto you.” This same principle works for congregations. Dare to give unselfishly for the gospel needs in the “regions beyond.” As you do, “God will supply all your needs.”
Your people have responded to the appeal of “foreign missions.” Keep their faith in you by investing it according to the plan. As you do, watch the response to other causes also increase.
2. Your people will begin to receive material blessings. Many have seen God’s blessings come between the making of the FAITH PROMISE and the first occasion to give in the offering. These material blessings come between the making of the FAITH PROMISE and the first occasion to give in the offering. These material blessings will come in the form of salary increases, promotions, savings, gifts and a multitude of seen and unseen miraculous ways. God sees their declared willingness and begins the flow of His blessing in order that they may perform.
3. Your other church income will increase. When the spirit of giving begins to move your people, they will respond more generously for every worthwhile cause. Their increased material blessing will increase their tithe. Their giving to other offerings will also increase, perhaps not in the same
proportion as to “foreign missions” but they will give more than they were giving before you involved them in this faith ministry.
4. Your people will enjoy the satisfaction of involvement. Because they are contributing in a specific and tangible way to the cause of foreign missions, they will be able to identify themselves with those who “go” and in so doing will rejoice in the acomplishments.
5. Your people will be more prayer conscious. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” As they invest in foreign missions, their interest will grow. The next logical reaction is the deeper investment of intercessory prayer for the spiritual fruit which is the desired result of missions. One cannot become involved in intercessory prayer without experiencing some desirable changes in himself.
6. Spiritual blessings will flow. Because your people will the sense of fulfillment of the will of God in their lives, the entire spectrum of their faith will grow. They will have the confidence of obedience because they are doing what the Lord said to do. Their prayers will be more powerful. They will be able to believe for “spiritual” benefits also. REVIVAL can come to the altars of your church.
What should you expect? A response beyond your anticipation, evidence of God’s faithfulness in keeping His end of the faith covenant, the material investments of your congregation producing spiritual results in their own lives, and REVIVAL at your own altars, for “the light that shines the farthest shines the brightest close to home.”
VIII. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
About the FAITH PROMISE PLAN
1. What is a FAITH PROMISE?
A FAITH PROMISE is purposing in one’s heart how much he will trust God to enable him to give each week or month to foreign missions during the next year.
2. Is the FAITH PROMISE PLAN scriptural?
Yes! The Apostle Paul wrote, “every man. . .as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give. . .” (II Corinthians 9:7). Second Corinthians 8:3 mentions giving “beyond their power.” This is the heart of FAITH PROMISE GIVING. It calls for a commitment requiring the exercise of faith for fulfillment.
3. Why is the FAITH PROMISE related to foreign missions?
No cause is closer to the heart of God than worldwide evangelism. God has reserved the full effectiveness of the FAITH PROMISE PLAN for the adequate financing of this cause. The full measure of His blessing rests upon those who so use it.
4. How is the FAITH PROMISE PLAN related to the local church?
This plan is designed to help the local church raise its foreign missionary giving. If possible, one’s FAITH PROMISE GIVING for foreign missions should be given into the missionary offerings of the local church which will disburse it to the missionaries through the channels of the Foreign Missions Division.
5. How does a FAITH PROMISE differ from a pledge?
A pledge is made to a church or person on the basis of known ability to give. A FAITH PROMISE is primarily a spiritual covenant between one and God and is conditioned upon God’s enablement.
6. Does the plan really work?
Yes! Churches that use this plan are giving thousands where once they gave tens and hundreds. Individuals find that they can truly give “beyond their power” as they make such a commitment and then trust God for enablement.
7. What is the “secret” of this plan?
A commitment to foreign missions, the exercise of faith, personal sacrifice for a worthy cause and wise stewardship are the dynamics of the FAITH PROMISE PLAN.
8. How is a FAITH PROMISE made?
One should prayerfully determine the amount he desires to give each week or month for the support of foreign missions. He then completes a FAITH PROMISE form and turns it in when called for in the FAITH PROMISE service.
9. Why should the card be turned in?
First, the FAITH PROMISE commitments will give the local church a basis upon which to plan its involvement in PARTNERS IN MISSIONS and other foreign missionary projects for the coming year.
Secondly, one will perform best that which he has committed himself to do. By completing the card and turning it in for a tally, one records his “purpose” of heart and will feel more responsible for fulfillment.
10. What if a FAITH PROMISE cannot be paid?
Here is where a FAITH PROMISE differs from a pledge. If, after exercising wise stewardship and faith in God to supply, one is unable to pay his FAITH PROMISE, he needs to account only to God. Unpaid balances are canceled at the end of the year.
11. How much should one seek to give?
* “To his power” and “beyond his power.”
* According to the measure of his faith.
* According to his desire to help.
* According to his desire to be blessed (Luke 6:38).
IX. FAITH PROMISE AND PARTNERS IN MISSIONS
FAITH PROMISE should not be confused with PARTNERS IN MISSIONS. While one compliments the other, each program is separate.
FAITH PROMISE as it is introduced and explained in this booklet is intended to reach the individual in the local church. It leads him into an annual commitment to the foreign missionary treasury of the local church. It is subject to yearly renewal. It provides a perpetual source of income for the local church’s foreign missionary involvement�s such as payment of PARTNERS IN MISSIONS pledges, giving for special foreign missionary projects and generous offerings to missionaries who periodically visit the church. FAITH PROMISES raised under the foreign missions banner should in all honesty and
fairness be used exclusively for foreign missions purposes.
PARTNERS IN MISSIONS is intended to be a system of pledges from the local church toward partial support for one or more missionaries. It is strongly suggested that such pledges be in the name of the church and thus represent a cooperative involvement from the total congregation. With a steady inflow
of monthly giving from members as a result of FAITH PROMISE, the local church will be able to make and pay its PARTNERS IN MISSIONS pledges without undue hardship.
The Foreign Missions Division believes that local church members should be encouraged to give through the facilities of the local church. Though it is possible for individuals to enroll in PARTNERS IN MISSIONS, it is intended that they contribute through their local church. FAITH PROMISE will provide them a plan and a vehicle by which to do so.
PARTNERS IN MISSIONS provides a plan whereby the entire local church can collectively share the responsibility and reward of involvement in fulfilling the Commission. Through this plan the entire congregation of the local church can identify with its missionary partners as to their burdens,
trials, successes and needs on the field. This enhances the global influence of the local church and pinpoints its areas of involvement. Missionaries, pastors, and laymen have welcomed this program because of its personalized involvement.
Not only does PARTNERS IN MISSIONS allow the church (and its members) to identify with specific missionaries and their work, it also strengthens the missionaries as they know exactly who is pledged to support them in prayer and finance. Each month the missionaries receive from the Foreign Missions
Division a report of all those who are pledged and who have paid their pledges. By this, they know they are not alone or forgotten. They derive a spiritual strength from this.
It is the goal of PARTNERS IN MISSIONS to provide each missionary with enough finance to carry on an effective ministry in his particular field and area of responsibility. At the beginning of the missionary’s term, a BASIC BUDGET is determined. This budget includes all predictable expenses
related to his going to the field, staying for a full term and returning to the homeland. Such expenses include fare to and from the field, shipping allowances, personal support, housing, on field travel, funding of continuing projects and ministries, insurance, taxes, reserves for emergencies, personal bonuses furlough allowance and administrative allowances. This amount is divided into a monthly average covering the length of the missionary’s term of service.
The missionary, during his deputation ministry and by other means, seeks to enroll churches who will become his PARTNERS IN MISSIONS by pledging a specified monthly amount toward this budget. Missionaries cannot be cleared for departure to the field until their budgets are fully subscribed in order that their support will be assured.
In order to shorten the time required to raise support, churches are encouraged to make larger pledges to fewer missionaries rather than pledge minimum amounts to all. For administrative efficiency, pledges should be at least $20.00 with double that amount or more most desirable. For example: A
church having $1,000.00 per month in missionary offerings to be pledged for PARTNERS IN MISSIONS would do best to pledge $40.00 or $50.00 per month to 25 or 20 missionaries than to pledge $10.00 to 100 missionaries. This principle will allow more personal identification with MISSIONARY PARTNERS and greatly reduce the amount of time and travel necessary for missionaries
to raise their budgets. It is not financially practical to process pledges of less than $10.00.
PARTNERS IN MISSIONS pledges are computerized by the Foreign Missions Division and acknowledged with an attractive certificate bearing the name and picture of the missionary. A courteous monthly notice is sent to each pledgor as a convenience and reminder in making monthly remittances. As much as possible, these monthly notices should be returned with the remittance of pledges. The identifying numbers they bear facilitate proper and accurate processing of credits.
PARTNERS IN MISSIONS offerings sent to the Foreign Missions Division are credited to the accounts of the respective MISSIONARY PARTNERS. Disbursement is made to the missionary on the basis of a prearranged field budget. If surpluses accumulate, they are available for special project
needs and ministries of the missionary. These funds are safeguarded as “missionary” money. Apart from personal support and emoluments, the missionary has no personal claim on these funds.
THE MISSIONARY PARTNER will send to his PARTNERS IN MISSIONS a regular NEWSLETTER informing them of progress and prayer needs in his mission. These letters can be used to supply information from the pulpit for the encouragement of praise, prayer and faithful giving. They may also be posted on an attractive missions center in the church or distributed among congregational members for personal attention and prayer.
PARTNERS IN MISSIONS and FAITH PROMISE, while not the same thing, work together by involving the church and its individual members in the world-wide ministry of foreign missions. FAITH PROMISE enrolls the individual yearly with a faith commitment to the local church missionary offering on a monthly basis. From this collective offering the church as a unit makes and pays its PARTNERS IN MISSIONS pledges for the MISSIONARY PARTNERS of its choosing and enrollment.
Pastors desiring to expand their churches’ PARTNERS IN MISSIONS enrollment or who are struggling to meet their present commitments should involve their people in FAITH PROMISE at the local level. Through FAITH PROMISE and PARTNERS IN MISSIONS every local church can have a global involvement in the Commission.
(The above material was published by the Pentecostal Publishing House in Hazelwood, Mo.)
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