Development & Faithful Activities: Believing in the Promises of God

The Old Testament character of Abraham is key to three major world religions – Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Within Christianity, we see many places that Abraham is noted for his faith – specifically, Hebrews 11 shares many actions which Abraham completed “by faith.” Going further, Paul writes that he is a wonderful example of faithfulness because “Abraham believed God” (Romans 4:3).

When thinking about “faithful activity” let’s start with a basic question: do we believe God will fulfill his promise?

First, as followers of Jesus we can experience the “unity of the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:3) when we “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). In our our decision-making we can need to prayerfully consider all decisions and next steps.

Next, if we are genuinely following the Spirit’s leading we must act with the confidence that God is working simultaneously in those hearts who can help his vision come to completion. We see a beautiful story of this in Acts 10, when Peter and Cornelius are having unique experiences of the Spirit which ultimately end up intersecting.

Finally, we must arrange and structure our actions on the assumption that God will fulfill his promise and not as if everything depended upon our work. We can consider these actions as our “faithful activities.”

There is a simplicity in this understanding and, yet, it is incredibly difficult to carry out on a day to day basis when so many forces are challenging this approach.

Regardless of how we talk about it, the work Winebrenner Seminary is really about discipleship. When we approach Development as a task of discipleship we can gain a glimpse of how these items begin to come together. The most effective discipleship occurs in one on one relationships or in small groups, and conversations about finances, development, and stewardship are no different.

  • Are we engaging in one on one conversations about stewardship?
  • Are we telling the story of God’s work?
  • Are we inviting others into the Kingdom work that God is doing?
  • Are we able to live within God’s timing and not rush the work of the Spirit in others?
  • Are we asking others to join causes that exhibit biblical stewardship and not fund unnecessary vanity projects?

One of the many challenges is how to measure effectiveness. How do we go about measuring “faithfulness”? Looking at the questions above, the “scorecard” begins to look very different. Typically we talk about the amount of money raised but how often do we also track the number of times we’ve shared stories about God at work in our organization?

A “faithful activity” places the emphasis upon our individual and organizational actions and leaves the results in God’s hands. A faithful activity trusts in the promises of God, even when it challenges our inherited assumptions about how to organize and build an organization.

We will continue in our journey to more fully align our activities across the organization to more fully reflect God’s Kingdom priorities.

– Dr. Brent Sleasman, President, Winebrenner Theological Seminary