Faith Promise Giving Biblical Principles of Grace Giving “You and Your Church Can Make a Difference in World Missions” David P. Smith, Th.D.
Faith Promise Giving: Biblical Principles of Grace Giving Copyright © 2021 David P. Smith First Edition, 2021 Printed in the United States of America by: A Division of: BTC Publications Winter Haven, FL www.baptisttrainingcenter.org Smith, David P., 1947 - The Art and Science of Soul Winning / David Paul Smith 1. Nonfiction → Religion → Christian Life → Spiritual Growth 2. Nonfiction → Religion → Christian Ministry → Evangelism ISBN 13: 978-1-947598-19-5 ISBN 10: 1-947598-19-8 Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, Authorized King James Version, 1769 Oxford Edition.
Faith Promise Giving Biblical Principles of Grace Giving “You and Your Church Can Make a Difference in World Missions” David P. Smith, Th.D. A Division of BTC Publications Winter Haven, Florida
Contents Dedication..........................................................................7 Preface................................................................................9 Chapter 1 A Conversation with God by Oswald J. Smith............................................................11 Chapter 2 Faith Promise Giving Makes the Difference.................15 Chapter 3 Origins of Faith Promise Giving.....................................17 Chapter 4 The Man Who Named “Faith Promise Giving”..............21 Chapter 5 Grace Giving.....................................................................23 Chapter 6 The Faith Promise Method Of Giving To Missions............................................................33 Chapter 7 How To Have A Great Missions Conference........................................................37 Chapter 8 Hosting the Missionary and His Family...................................................................53
Chapter 9 Faith Promise Missions Conference by Dr. Harold Williams..................................................59 Chapter 10 My First Experience With Faith Promise by Leon Jasper.....................................................93 Chapter 11 Dr. Weeks Dubose Testimonial about Faith Promise Giving.............................................97 Chapter 12 “A Personal Testimony About Faith Promise Giving” by Mike Withem.........................101 Chapter 13 Faith Promise at Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church by Peter Thompson..............................105 Chapter 14 You Can’t Outgive God by Brant Lane..................................................................109 Chapter 15 “What If...” by Jonathon Smith......................................113 Chapter 16 Now What?.......................................................................117
Dedication I dedicate this book to all church planters and missionaries that have struggled for finances and resources to do the work of God. I, also, dedicate this book to pastors of small struggling churches who pray that they could do more for world missions but lack the resources to do it. I also dedicate this book to pastors and leaders of large churches and ministries that have yet to discover the power of Grace Giving and are relying on their ability to give instead of the Power of God to supply. Furthermore, I dedicate this book to all believers who want to do something significant in their lives for God and feel they are too poor to do it. Thank you to each of the contributing authors that have made this book an even greater blessing for all that read it. Contributing authors are: 1. Dr. Harold Williams, co-founder (deceased) of Macedonian Missionary Service. 2. Leon Jasper, co-founder (deceased) of Macedonian Missionary Service. 3. Dr. Weeks Dubose, author of “Mission Possible”. 4. Pastor Mike Withem, First Baptist Church, Ranson, West Virginia. 5. Pastor Pete Thompson, Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church, Overton, TX. 6. Brant Lane, Missionary Builder and President of Macedonian Missionary Service. 7. Pastor Jonathon D. Smith, Associate Minister at Sublett Rd Baptist Church, Arlington, TX.
Preface Missionary work has been my life. My joy has been to plant new churches in Canada, and the U.K. and in numerous other places indirectly by opening new fields and encouraging new missionaries to go all over the world. And now, once again, in my older years I have been privileged to begin planting another church. This time in Texas. Throughout the years Faith Promise Giving has been a big part of our church planting experience. This method of giving enabled us to get on the field many years ago through the giving of churches in the USA. Many of the churches that were most prolific in their support of our ministry also practiced Faith Promise. We taught our first church plant in Mississauga, Ontario, about faith promise giving. They began to give to world missions like we had never seen. As a result of their vision for missions and giving, they were able to send us to Northwest London, England, years later and plant a church there. I thank God for Macedonian Missionary Service and men like Harold Williams and Leon Jasper who set a strong example for faith promise giving in my life. They became my mentors for missions’ ministry around the world. Their testimony and service to God by faith, has inspired and motivated me to keep on preaching the gospel message and faith promise giving to the uttermost regions of the earth. They lived what they preached. May all who read this book and the testimonies herein, know this: Those who have gone before me deserve all the credit for sharing this wonderful method of giving called “Faith Promise”. - David P. Smith
Chapter 1 A Conversation with God A Sermon by Oswald J. Smith “Let me tell you how God taught me to give. It was a lesson that has remained with me to this day. I had been pastor in a large Presbyterian church in the city of Toronto. One day I resigned and, finally, I became pastor of a church that knew how to give in a way I had never known. I commenced my pastorate on the first Sunday of January, at a time when they were holding their Annual Missionary Convention. I knew nothing about a missionary convention. I had never been in one in all my life. I didn’t know the first thing to do, so I just sat on the platform and watched. The ushers were going up and down the aisles giving out envelopes. Presently to my amazement one of the ushers had the audacity to walk right up the aisle and hand me, the pastor, one of the envelopes. I sat there holding it in my hand. I can still remember that moment as though it were yesterday. As I held it, I read it: “In dependence upon God I will endeavor to give toward the Missionary Work of the Church $_____ during the coming year.” I had never read such a statement before. I did not know that morning how God was going to deal with me and teach me a lesson that I was never to forget, and that I was to teach to scores of other churches all over the country in the years to come. I started to pray. I said, “Lord God, I can’t do anything. You know I have nothing in my pocket. This church only pays me $25.00 a week. I have a wife and child to keep. We are trying to
12 Faith Promise Giving buy our home and everything is sky-high in price.” All that was true. The First World War was on. “I know that,” the Lord said. “I know you are only getting $25.00 a week. I know you have nothing in your pocket and nothing in the bank.” “Well then,” I continued, “that settles it. I have nothing to give and I cannot give anything.” Then the Lord spoke. I will never forget it. “I am not asking you for what you have,” He said. “You are not asking me for what I have, Lord? Then what are you asking?” I replied. “I am asking you for a Faith Offering. How much can you trust Me for?” “Oh, Lord,” I exclaimed, “that’s different. How much can I trust Thee for?” I knew nothing at all about a Faith Offering. I had never given such an offering in my life. But I knew the Lord was speaking. I thought He might say $5.00 or perhaps even $10.00. Once in my life I had given $5.00 for missions, and once I had given $3.00, but never more. I almost trembled as I waited for the answer. Presently it came. I am not going to ask you to believe that God spoke to me in an audible voice, but He might just as well have done so. I was scarcely conscious of the congregation as I sat there with my eyes closed, listening to the Voice of God. God was dealing with me that morning, though I did not realize it at the time. “Fifty dollars.” “Fifty dollars!” I exclaimed. “Why, Lord, that’s two weeks’ salary. How can I get $50.00?” But again the Lord spoke, and it was still the same amount. It was just as clear to me as though He had spoken in an audible voice. How I ever paid it I don’t know to this day. All I know is that every month I had to pray for $4.00, and every month God sent it in some miraculous way. At the end of the year I had paid the entire amount $50.00.
Biblical Principles of Grace Giving 13 But this is what I want to “You can’t take it make clear. I received such a with you, but you blessing. There came to my heart such a fullness of the Spirit it can send it was such a thrill, that as I paid on ahead.” the final amount, I realized that it had been one of the greatest ― Oswald J. Smith experiences of my life. So great was the spiritual blessing that had come to me because I had given a Faith Offering, I had trusted God for a certain amount, I had given in a scriptural way that the next year at the convention, I doubled the amount and gave $100.00. And from that day to this I have been sending on thousands upon thousands of dollars to the Bank of Heaven. If I had waited until I had it, I never would have given it because I never would have had it. But I gave it when I didn’t have it. I gave a Faith Offering and God honored it.”1 - Oswald J. Smith Peoples Church Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1 Text Sermons: Classic Christian Writing: How God Taught Me to Give, Oswald J. Smith, Sermonindex.net (used by permission; original sermon in public domain)
Chapter 2 Faith Promise Giving Makes the Difference Funding the Greatest Enterprise on Earth Missionary work is the greatest work on earth, because it satisfies the Great Commission of Jesus Christ in two simple yet powerful words, “Go ye” (Matt 28:19 KJV). Nevertheless, the greatest work on earth suffers constantly from a lack of resources needed to carry it out. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God’s people could discover these resources in abundance? Well, I believe we can. I want to share with you one of the most blessed methods of giving ever experienced by churches and individuals throughout the world: It’s called “Faith Promise Giving”. Some call it Faith Giving, others call it Grace Giving, one even called it Prayer Giving. It is still giving and it is still by faith, and by grace, and yes, by prayer too. Not foolish faith, but scriptural Oswald J. Smith often faith, built on solid biblical asked this question principles. The first time that I ever regarding giving and heard of “Faith Promise faith: “Have you ever Giving” was by a fellow pastor, Brother Weeks in your life given a Dubose. He wrote a little Faith Offering?” book on Faith Promise Giving entitled, “Mission
16 Faith Promise Giving Possible”. Unfortunately, it is no longer in print. We “The Faith Promise invited Brother Weeks to our Plan is head and church, Unity Missionary Baptist Church (now shoulders above other University Baptist) of Tyler, methods of financing Texas, back in 1973. Ours the advance of God’s was the first church among East Texas Missionary Kingdom beyond Baptist Churches to have a current frontiers.” “Faith Promise” missions - Norm Lewis conference. Some Baptists were already familiar with this method of giving and were raising tremendous amounts of money for global missions for many years. Everywhere that we have ministered since then, we have used the Faith Promise method of giving and have never been disappointed in the God who cannot be out-given. Giving by faith will be a challenge for all of us to seriously encounter. We will help you to navigate through some of the greatest “giving by faith” encounters that you may ever have the privilege of experiencing. - David P. Smith
Chapter 3 Origins of Faith Promise Giving In order to get a good understanding of “Faith Promise Giving” we need to research the history of its beginnings. The principle is taught in the Bible, but the label “Faith Promise Giving” is man- made. So, who named it? The honor for naming “Faith Promise Giving” is given to Oswald J. Smith. He tells his story of how he was first introduced to faith promise giving, however, it was not called that when he learned of it. It was just the method of giving the church he pastored had been using. He discovered this method while pastoring the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church of Toronto. The Alliance, which had been founded by A.B. Simpson, had developed this system of giving which they called “Grace Giving”. Because the system was scriptural and spiritual, it was well received by many Evangelical and Baptist churches across the country and around the world. Norm Lewis had worked closely with Oswald J. Smith for many years. Thus he learned about the faith giving principle from Smith. Lewis wrote the book “Faith Promise Why and How”, which has already been referenced in this writing. Lewis also knew A.W. Tozer, and he was familiar with the origins of Faith Promise as well. He was told that Dr. A.B. Simpson (founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance) used it in conferences at Old Orchard Beach, Maine, during the last two decades of the 19th century. This is where Grace Giving was taught and Faith Promise Giving would find its foundation. Simpson believed that the Grace
18 Faith Promise Giving Giving method originated with the Apostle Paul, using Paul’s teaching in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. We will look more closely at those passages later. Albert Benjamin Simpson (born December 15th, 1843) was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Early on he had spiritual interests, so much so that at the age of 14 enrolled in Knox College, Toronto, Canada. During his studies at the seminary he became greatly convicted of his need for salvation. He had become greatly concerned that he might die go to everlasting punishment. He was finally introduced to the way of salvation in 1858 when he received Christ as his Savior. Furthermore, he surrendered his life to Christ in order to serve Him more. “The Christian that is bound by his own horizon, the church that lives simply for itself, is bound to die a spiritual death and sink into stagnancy and corruption. We never can thank God enough for giving us not only a whole Gospel to believe, but a whole world to give it to.” - A. B. Simpson Grace was a new concept for Simpson. He discovered salvation by grace and now he wanted to learn more and more about God’s marvelous grace of favor and not election. The Knox school was a Presbyterian school and would have focused on the concepts of election and predestination. Grace was something that he focused on more and more. He found the Christian and Missionary Alliance church to have a profound love for world-wide missionary work. He recognized that this work was neglected in his time and so he began to teach grace everywhere that he went. He also discovered the ‘grace of giving’ which was in the scriptures. He used II Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 to teach about giving by faith. Simpson had a vision for the lost at home and abroad. His was one of the first truly great missionary visions of his time. Grace Giving (Faith Promise) is what would become the resource to
Biblical Principles of Grace Giving 19 fund this missionary movement also known as the Christian & Missionary Alliance. They raised tens of thousands of dollars by faith and it was all dedicated to world-wide missions.
Chapter 4 The Man Who Named “Faith Promise Giving” Oswald Jeffrey Smith (November 8, 1889 – January 25, 1986) was a Canadian pastor, author, and missions advocate. He founded The Peoples Church of Toronto in 1928. Smith attended the Toronto Bible Training School, the Manitoba Presbyterian College in Winnipeg, and the McCormick Seminary in Chicago. Smith was ordained as a minister of the Presbyterian Church of Canada in 1918. However, he resigned from the Presbyterian Church, set up his own church in Toronto, which merged with a small Christian and Missionary Alliance congregation in 1921. In 1928, he started another independent church in Toronto, the famous Peoples Church. Using his base in Toronto for fundraising, he traveled the world to recruit missionaries. His church supplied total support to over 100 missionaries in the early 1900’s. Over the course of “If God wills the eighty years he preached evangelization of the more than 12,000 sermons world, and you refuse in 80 countries, wrote thirty- five books (with translations to support missions, into 128 languages), as well then you are opposed as 1,200 poems, of which 100 have been set to music, to the will of God.” including “Deeper and ― Oswald J. Smith Deeper” (first line “Into the heart of Jesus”).
22 Faith Promise Giving Smith had been greatly influenced by A.B. Simpson and was the man that popularized “Faith Promise Giving”. But O.J. Smith was the man who named this method of giving. It all happened when God taught him to give by faith. Please read the opening chapter “A Conversation with God.”
Chapter 5 Grace Giving Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia - 2 Cor. 8:1, (underlining mine) Giving is a grace which God God will give bestowed on the believers in the through you churches of Macedonia. What is this what He will kind of giving? Grace is something given to us, something we get, not not give to you. something we give. It is God’s bestowing, favoring, granting or giving to us—the gift of being able to give. He enables each one of us to give in ways we never imagined and to give more than we thought possible. Grace giving is something that God does through us much like a channel connects two large bodies of water. God is the source of the giving and we are the channel by which He chooses to give to those that need to receive. Therefore, as a channel, we must be willing to allow Him to give through us what we didn’t have in the first place to give. (The Welland Canal in Ontario, Canada is a prime example of how a channel allows merchant ships to move from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. The channel removes the challenges of the great Niagara Falls and permits free flow of ocean going ships.) This Grace Also Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. - 2 Cor. 8:7 (underlining mine)
24 Faith Promise Giving Paul, the apostle, admonished the people to “abound in this grace also”. What grace? The grace he described in verse one which had been bestowed upon the Macedonian churches, the Grace of Giving, or Faith Promise. If we are to abound in a certain grace, then it would be necessary for us to understand just exactly what this grace is. Giving should not be a difficult thing to do. Since God grants this gift of giving to us, it simply means that God is doing the giving. He grants, bestows, GIVES THROUGH US, what He would not necessarily give to us. It’s not about getting from God, it is about God giving and about us not holding on to what He is giving through us. This is not prosperity theology; it is actually ‘poverty theology’. The Macedonians were actually dirt poor. The Macedonians gave out of “deep poverty” which in turn “abounded unto the riches of their liberality”, 2 Cor. 8:2. Because they gave out of the little they had, God turned the little into much and blessed them so that their gift to the saints in Jerusalem exceeded everything they thought possible. God did it, not the Macedonians. So, here is the principle: GOD GIVES THROUGH US WHAT HE WOULD NOT NECESSARILY GIVE TO US This is Grace Giving. Grace is the unmerited, undeserving favor of God bestowed upon us through the simplicity of asking by faith, which is the same principle for salvation. Little is Much When God Is in It 1 In the harvest field now ripened There’s a work for all to do; Hark! the voice of God is calling To the harvest calling you. Refrain: Little is much when God is in it, Labor not for wealth or fame; There’s a crown, and you can win it, If you go in Jesus’ name.
Biblical Principles of Grace Giving 25 2 Does the place you’re called to labor Seem too small and little known? It is great if God is in it, And He’ll not forget His own. 3 When the conflict here is ended And our race on earth is run, He will say, if we are faithful, “Welcome home, My child, well done!” - Kittie L. Suffield (1924)1 Giving is a Grace that God Bestows A.B. Simpson defined giving by grace in the following manner, What is Grace? Grace is something given us, something we get, not something we give. God does not require us to give as though it was a difficult exercise. He wants to give us the spirit of giving. Giving is something we must do in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is something we must take as a divine gift, a grace of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, giving belongs to the essential qualities of holiness and right living. Without this grace we cannot call ourselves truly sanctified children of God. Thankfully, because it is a grace, it is available to each of us.2 A Grace Bestowed Upon the Churches of Macedonia The gift of giving is what was bestowed upon the churches. Obviously churches are made up of people, nonetheless it is important to see that God enables churches in their giving collectively. Because a church is a local assembly of believers, it stands to reason that the more there are who are giving the more resources there will be in the church treasury. Not only does the local assembly become greatly blessed, but the association or fellowship of churches that combine their efforts for local and global evangelization will be blessed. And so, the Jerusalem church 1 Hymnary.org; Kittie L. Suffield 2 Simpson, Dr. Albert B. The Grace of Giving, the Great Commission Fund Campaign. Missionary Alliance website.
26 Faith Promise Giving was blessed greatly even as churches that cooperate together for global evangelization will be blessed. But it all depends on the local church to become involved and exercise the grace of giving as God bestows it upon them. It was a grace bestowed upon the churches by God. He showered His favor (grace) upon the churches of Macedonia. Thus enabling them to give out of deep poverty. Out of Deep Poverty 2 Corinthians 8:2 “How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” It seems that the poor are much more likely to understand Grace Giving than the wealthy. The poor have little to begin with, it is their way of life. The wealthy have all they need and therefore find it difficult to rely upon God. It should be well noted that the Macedonian churches were poor churches. They were poverty stricken, dirt poor! 2 Corinthians 8:2 explains how God bestowed this grace upon them. “How that in a great trial of affliction, …and their deep poverty”. God seems to choose the weak over the strong, the poor over the rich, in order to show His glory. God does things differently than we do. Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” 1Corinthians 1:27 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;” Who was it that He chose to honor in the Old Testament, I Kings 17:9? A poor widow of Zidon and her son, that were about to eat their last bite and then die. Strangely, God told Elijah to ask the widow woman for that last bite and cook it up for himself to eat first. She was poor! She and her son were going to die without more food. Yet the prophet asks for her last bite of food. She willingly gave it to the prophet, out of deep poverty. She really
Biblical Principles of Grace Giving 27 wasn’t able to do this yet she obeyed the prophet, besides she was dying anyways, what did she have to lose? And so out of deep poverty she abounded liberally in joy as her oil and meal never diminished throughout the famine. That was deep poverty and God’s grace was bestowed upon her and her son. Then she abounded liberally, i.e. God just kept on giving to her need. Beyond their Power 2 Corinthians 8:3 “For to their power (ability), I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves:” This was beyond their ability to do. The Macedonians gave beyond their power (ability). How is it possible to give beyond what you are able to give? Jesus said, “Give, and it shall be given unto you.” Luke 6:38. The Macedonians first gave to their ability and then God favored them with more which was beyond their ability to give. Thus, they were able to give to God more than they had. Remember the meal and oil? The widow gave what she had and God kept giving back. This is why people with limited means often grasp this concept of Grace Giving far more easily than those that are wealthy. They know that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain (not prosperity theology), trusting God by faith. Likewise, in faith promise giving, we give beyond our ability to give because God supplies means for us to give what we do not have to give. The channel is open and as long as we don’t keep it for ourselves God keeps the channel flowing. The latter part of Luke 6:38 describes God’s way of giving, “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Do we really believe that? If so, why not trust and see if God keeps His word. My youngest son Benjamin (about 8 years old at the time) wanted to participate in faith promise missions giving. We were having a faith promise missions conference at my first church
28 Faith Promise Giving planting in Mississauga, Canada. Our speaker had challenged us and it was commitment Sunday when everyone would be given the opportunity to make a faith promise commitment (not a pledge) for world missions. And so, we all made our faith commitments, including my son. He had shared with me beforehand that he felt the Lord wanted him to give two dollars a week. (Now, you need to understand, Benjamin had no means of getting these two dollars. We did not give allowances to our children. They learned to earn everything they received in the way of money.) So, I instructed my son that he could not get any of my loose change from my dresser, and he said, “I understand”. That afternoon, our church bus driver, Bro Jim (who is now with the Lord) came to me and asked me if it was alright for him to get Benjamin to sweep out the bus every week for him and that he would pay him. The bus was located on our church property and would be much more convenient for Benjamin to just go outside where the bus was parked and sweep it out. I told him that would be no problem at all. We called Benjamin over, and I told him that Bro Jim wanted to ask him something. Jim said, “Benjamin, will you sweep out the church bus for me every week? I will pay you two dollars every week, if you do it for me.” Both Benjamin and myself were shocked! It was the same amount that he had committed to faith promise! TWO DOLLARS! Was this a coincidence, absolutely not. God answered my son’s prayer. What an experience for our son to have. Yes, the children can participate in faith promise, and they will discover the joy of the Lord. Teach the children to have faith in the promises of God and you will see even greater things than this. Gave Their Own Selves First 2 Corinthians 8:5 “…but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. There must be a surrender of the personal will unto the will of Him that loves us. If there is reluctance to give yourself then God will be reluctant to turn loose of His resources. One cannot give himself unless he willingly surrenders his own will unto God.
Biblical Principles of Grace Giving 29 When you surrender all you have there is then nothing left that is yours. It is all God’s. It’s easier to give what is not yours! Jesus stated it well when He declared in Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things (material needs) will be added unto you.” The condition for receiving from Christ is first seeking His kingdom. Pure and simple. Many struggle with this. Don’t struggle. Yield! The Same Grace Also 2 Corinthians 8:6 “Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. 2 Corinthians 8:6 reveals something that many never see. It’s the “same grace” phrase. This is a direct reference to the “grace of God bestowed upon the Macedonians” in verse one of this chapter. Paul instructs Titus to finish teaching the Corinthian Church about giving by grace—faith promise. He said, “...so he would also finish in you the same grace also.” The Corinthian Church was wealthy. They had extensive resources they could utilize. This was the problem, of course, the church was wealthy and was finding it difficult to trust God for the offering they were supposed to be raising for the poor saints at Jerusalem. They seemed to be continually delaying the receiving of the offering after an entire year. Paul used the Macedonians as an example of real “Grace Giving.” Here we have direct instruction by Paul to Titus, to instruct the church in Corinth to learn grace giving. To “finish” the teaching of it so the people would grasp how their offerings would be supplied for the poor saints in the Jerusalem church. By the way, this was international missions giving exemplified for us to replicate as well. Abound in this Grace also 2 Corinthians 8:7 “Therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge,
30 Faith Promise Giving and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.” Paul not only instructed the Corinthians to practice this grace but to “abound in this grace”. Why did Paul make such emphasis on “this grace”? What was it that stirred him up in such a way that he insisted that they practice this grace? It is because Paul saw “this grace” working among the poor Macedonians. He saw the Spirit of God at work abundantly blessing the believers almost miraculously, watching as God provided again and again beyond anything that had been experienced by the churches before. The Macedonians were living examples of this ‘grace giving’ and he wanted every church he had planted to experience God’s provision for world mission as the Macedonians had. Therefore, we ought to be abounding in this grace also. Yes, why not experience it for yourself and your church. The average church that practices faith promise usually gives twice as much and sometimes three times more to missions than ever before. To Prove the Sincerity of Your Love 2Co 8:8 “I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.” “Proving (dokimazōn). Testing and so proving” (Robertson).3 By practicing grace giving (Faith Promise) we are allowing our love to be tested and proven. Whenever you are challenged at a Faith Promise Missions conference to test your faith by making a financial commitment by faith, your love for God and souls will be not only tested but proven. You will prove the sincerity of your love by following through in faith. You will have prayed for God’s direction in what He wants you to give. He will impress your heart for what He wants to give through you for the work of global missions. The heart of God is missions! 3 Robertson, A.T. Robertson’s Word Pictures, E-Sword
Biblical Principles of Grace Giving 31 The Macedonians first gave their own selves to the Lord before they experienced the Grace of Giving. Consider this great quote by missionary Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ 2 Cor. 8:9 “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” This is one of the more fascinating passages of the Bible. What is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? Notice, it is His grace. The grace - The benignity, kindness, mercy, goodness. His coming in this manner was a proof of the highest benevolence.4 Benevolence: Webster’s Dictionary defines benevolence as a “disposition to do good, an act of kindness, a generous gift. Jesus gave himself as the gift to mankind. Giving Himself, was the greatest act of kindness and giving that was ever done by anyone. He was the ultimate creator and possessor of all things ever made. He emptied himself of all when He entered human flesh and became poor amongst men. Philippians 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” This passage is about the gift that Jesus made of himself for mankind’s redemption. “For God so loved the world that He gave 4 Barnes, Albert. Barnes’ Notes, E-Sword
32 Faith Promise Giving His only begotten Son” John 3:16. He purposely gave up everything in order to give himself so that we might be made rich, through His poverty. This is a very significant passage in understanding ‘Grace Giving’. He did this in taking on humanity, although He was still Eternal God. The passage is to teach us about the Grace of our Lord Jesus. The Macedonians first gave themselves unto the Lord so the poor saints in Jerusalem could be helped. They gave out of deep poverty. God the Father sent Jesus, the gift, who in turn gave himself and took on poverty in order to make us rich in God’s grace if we simply believed and trusted His word. Whereas, we were poor in sins and degradation yet we are made rich in His grace. It was grace giving that Jesus practiced. By grace, a gift, He gave himself freely for us. We, by the grace (a gift) from God, receive His supply and give freely a faith promise in order for missionaries to receive the blessing. God will supply their needs for global evangelism, for He will supply all our needs in missionary work if we will but trust Him by faith, not just our bank accounts. That’s a tall order for anyone to spiritually digest. Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Grace Giving is nothing more than Faith Promise Giving. By faith we make a commitment/promise to God for a certain amount and then we give it by faith when God supplies it. - David P. Smith
Chapter 6 The Faith Promise Method Of Giving To Missions Is Faith Promise missions giving right for your church? It may be if your church has a burden for world evangelization and would like to double or perhaps triple her missions giving. It is even probable that your regular offerings will go up at the same time. This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky scheme, but a proven Biblical method of financing world evangelization that works equally well in churches of all sizes and social cultural backgrounds. Interested? Here is some more information. What Faith Promise Giving Is Not 1. Faith Promise is not a pledge. No cards are signed and no agreement is made with the church or pastor. 2. Faith Promise is not tithing. Tithing is giving ten percent of a person’s income to the Lord. Faith Promise goes beyond tithing and trusts the Lord to supply a special offering for missions. 3. Faith Promise is not a love offering. Love offerings are received at special times for specific and particular needs. Usually these are given as one-time offerings as God burdens the hearts of His People. 4. Faith Promise is not prosperity theology. God does not guarantee that a person will become wealthy because he gives to missions what God has provided.
34 Faith Promise Giving 5. Faith Promise is not unreasonable giving. Missions is the work of God and it is reasonable to expect Him to finance His work through His people. 6. Faith Promise is not the only method of missions giving. Many fine churches do great mission work who do not use the Faith Promise plan. But, those doing a good work, in all probability, could do even better with Faith Promise. What Faith Promise Giving is 1. Faith Promise giving is giving by the grace of God as taught in the New Testament. (2 Corinthians 8:1,7,8) 2. Faith Promise is trusting God to give through us, for the cause of world evangelization, what He would not otherwise give to us. 3. Faith Promise is local church centered and promotes the overall ministry of the church. 4. Faith Promise is an organized, purposeful approach to missions giving in a church. 5. Faith Promise involves every member in a church. Whether young or old, rich or poor, all may participate in this exciting exercise of faith in God to give to world evangelization. How Faith Promise Giving Works 1. In a Missions Conference, the members are made aware of the needs of worldwide missions and how God desires to finance it. 2. Each member is then encouraged to pray for an amount that he will trust the Lord to provide on a regular basis over and above his tithe and regular offerings. 3. A commitment, not a pledge, is made between the individual and God by faith, that, if the Lord will supply, a specific amount will be given regularly through his church the coming year. 4. That amount is placed on a commitment card, unsigned, and turned in. All of these cards are totaled so that the church may have a general idea of the amount of mission work it can plan to budget for the coming year.
Biblical Principles of Grace Giving 35 The Results of Faith Promise 1. Individual members and the church as a whole will experience an increased faith in God to supply the needs, not only for world evangelization, but for every area of their lives. 2. The church will experience an increase in her missions giving. As a result, more missionaries and mission projects can be supported. 3. The average church can expect an increase in her regular giving. 4. The church will have a greater awareness of mission activity around the world. 5. The individual will experience the thrill and joy of knowing that they have become a real partner with the missionaries and in the work being done. The above information was We must be global gathered from the brochure printed Christians with by Macedonian Missionary a global vision Service. If you desire to learn because our God more about Faith Promise giving is a global God. for your church please contact this author, or Macedonian Missionary ― John Stott Service in Somerset, Kentucky: www.macedonianms.org.
Chapter 7 How To Have A Great Missions Conference One of the most exciting events the church will ever “World evangelization experience is the Missions should not be treated Conference. This is where as a minor endeavor, everyone gets involved in the work of missions. Here but as the major the challenge is raised and enterprise of the the commitments are made church.” to advance the cause of ― Paul B. Smith, worldwide evangelism and The Senders missionary work. A successful conference will not just happen all by itself. It will require a lot of preparation, planning and promotion, well in advance of the conference. A good conference, one the church long remembers, is prayerfully planned. The most effective conference will be the one that involves the greatest number of people. PRAYERFUL PLANNING Prayerful planning cannot be overstated. Prayer should be initiated for the conference well in advance during Wednesday night prayer meetings, worship services and bulletins. Small group prayer meetings could be established several months in advance. You will discover that the missions conference can lead the church into real continuous revival.
38 Faith Promise Giving Planning for next year could begin as early as the completion of the first conference. Ideas could be formulated on how to make the conference better. It is recommended that the conference be prayerfully planned many months in advance. It will be easier to find the best speakers and expenses can be better budgeted if planned even a year ahead. MISSIONS MINDED MISSIONS COMMITTEE Selecting a missions’ committee is a serious spiritual consideration. It is essential that this committee is made up of men and women that have a love for missions and have missionaries on their heart. They will be crucial to advancing the cause of world- wide missionary work in your local church. The committee could be made up of about two or three, including the pastor. Here are a few things they will be responsible for regarding the missions conference: 1. Planning the conference and all of its details, decorations, theme, etc. 2. Selecting the missionaries and finding hosts to accommodate them when they arrive. 3. Working with the pastor and following his leadership and vision for the conference. PICK SPEAKERS IN ADVANCE Contact your faith promise missions speakers well in advance. Their speaking schedules usually fill up a year, sometimes two years in advance. It is best to schedule competent and skilled speakers on the subject of missions and faith promise. The pastor should have the lead in selecting a good key speaker. You can call the Macedonian Missionary Service for men who are experienced and qualified to help you have the best missions conference possible. Or call the Missions office of your association or fellowship of churches for missionaries that are on furlough in the USA. It is also advisable that missionaries be contacted well in advance of your conference. They are often booked up with appointments and hard to get. It is recommended that foreign
Biblical Principles of Grace Giving 39 missionaries be present at your conference. They will add the special flavor that the conference needs. The emphasis ought to be world missions. Be sure that someone teaches the faith promise principles every year. There are new members in the church who have not heard and others will need to be reminded about the principles of faith promise giving. PROVIDING ESSENTIALS FOR THE MISSIONARIES One of the best arrangements for feeding your missionaries is to have the church families serve dinner for all the missionaries at church each night. The families that do the serving should be invited to eat and fellowship with the missionaries during dinner so that they may interact with them. This also gives the pastor an opportunity to know all the missionaries. Accommodations are also important. Missionaries are often exhausted from traveling long distances for long periods of time and would appreciate being settled into their quarters well before service times. Your budget may not permit for them to be placed into a motel or hotel. If they will be staying in member’s homes, there needs to be consideration to special needs such as allergies to animals and individuals with special diets. PASTORAL LEADERSHIP “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with his own blood.” - Acts 20:28 The pastor will need to be the most excited proponent of the missions’ conference. He will need to select spiritually minded members to assist him on a small committee for the purpose of organizing the Missions Conference. The people involved ought to be soulwinners and missions minded people. Otherwise there may be a reluctance to co-operate with leadership in this conference. If the pastor is the one who announces the conference and encourages the people to participate in it then it will be accepted
40 Faith Promise Giving that the conference is important. Once the church experiences the first conference there will be a growing excitement every year for the next one. The pastor is the key to the success of the missions’ conference. If he believes in it and is sold on it then the people will probably follow suit. Everything rises and falls on leadership. PLAN A THEME Plan your conference around a Biblical theme. Select a short phrase and display it on a banner across the front of the auditorium. Make sure the theme reflects missions. Following are some suggestions for your missions’ themes: “Carry the Light”, “Into the Regions Beyond”, “Send the Light”, “So Send I You”. The banner ought to be large enough that it can be seen at the back of the auditorium easily. The larger and more colorful the banner is the more attention it will draw. The banner should be hung the Sunday before the Sunday the conference begins. Missionary mottoes are also very helpful. Someone who is able to draw them onto posters or print them from a banner program on a computer would be very helpful. Mottoes such as the following could be considered: 1. You must go or send a substitute. Oswald J. Smith 2. Anywhere, provided it be forward. David Livingstone 3. If God wills the evangelization of the world, and you refuse to support missions, then you are opposed to the will of God. Oswald J. Smith 4. Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God. William Carey 5. Why should anyone hear the gospel twice before everyone has heard it once? Oswald J. Smith 6. If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him. C.T. Studd. 7. Give according to your income lest God make your income according to your giving. Peter Marshall. 8. The prospects are as bright as the promises of God. Adoniram Judson.
Biblical Principles of Grace Giving 41 9. Now let me burn out for Christ. Henry Martyn. 10. Oh for a hundred thousand lives to be spent in the service of Christ. George Whitfield. 11. This generation can only reach this generation. Unknown. 12. The light that shines farthest shines brightest nearest home. Unknown. 13. The supreme task of the Church is the evangelization of the world. Unknown. 14. Many are called to go, who are the ones that will answer? David P. Smith. 15. Carry the Light. (from the song by the same name). Following are some scriptures that can be used as mottoes: 1. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light (Isa. 9:2). 2. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth (Isa. 45:22). 3. Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? (Acts 9:6). 4. Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? (Isa 6:8). 5. Here am I; send me (Isa.6:8). 6. We are ambassadors for Christ (II Cor.5:20). 7. Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem….and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8). 8. The isles shall wait for his law (Isa. 42:4). 9. Declare His glory among the heathen (I Chron.16:24). 10. Even so send I you. (John 20:21) PREPARE TO DECORATE Decorating the church walls helps create an atmosphere. The lack of decorations may indicate that the church is not turned on to missions. It also indicates that the people may not have been challenged with the importance of the conference. Flags from around the world are excellent for creating an international flavor. Small table flags can be purchased for just a few dollars each. Table flags are very good for the international dinner banquet. Larger flags can also be purchased or sewn
42 Faith Promise Giving together by a talented individual in the church. The larger flags can be hung around the auditorium or set on flag stands at the front by the altar. Missions posters are very effective. They can be affixed to the hall walls and auditorium walls or in the vestibule. They may contain slogans from missionaries or be pictures of people from other countries who need the gospel. A missions’ poster contest could be a real incentive to get the young and old educated in missions. The posters should be displayed from the first night of the conference and the winner declared on Sunday morning before the whole church. Appoint someone to be in charge of decorating. It will be an excellent ministry for someone who would like to use his or her talents for the Lord. Simply instruct them to do the following: 1. Decorate as professionally as your budget will permit. 2. Be certain to maintain a mission theme. 3. Save all materials after the conference is over, but do not use the same ideas next year. PLANNING THE CONFERENCE SCHEDULE The following schedule is one that has been used successfully: • Congregational song (missions’ song) • Prayer • Missionary slide or video presentation (10-15 minutes) • Congregational song (missions’ song) • Missionary testimony (5-10 minutes) • Special Music (Missions) • Special Missionary Needs Presented (1-2 minutes each missionary) • Congregational song (missions’ song) • Offering (special offering for missionaries preferable) • Special Music • Message • Invitation
Biblical Principles of Grace Giving 43 • Announcements while everyone standing before the benediction. Missionaries should arrive by at least 4 pm on the day the conference begins. Plan a dinner with all of the missionaries followed by orientation for all. It always helps for everyone to know what is going to take place during the conference. If a packet of information about the conference schedule were sent to the missionaries and speaker in advance they would also be better prepared about what to expect. Weeknight schedules often begin at either 7 or 7:30 pm. If the program begins at 7 it will be better for families with children to attend. The length of the program should not be more than an hour and a half. During this time, it is possible to fit in the aforementioned sample schedule. One missionary presentation and testimony along with the keynote speaker will be ample speakers for the night. It is not a good idea to have two sermons. Neither should two missionaries show their slides or videos in the same service. If a missionary presents his slides or video, he should not be the same one to give his testimony. Variety will keep your service interesting. Good flow of the service will also keep things moving at a good pace. Everyone should know their cue for participation in the program and quickly get up on the platform in order to eliminate dead time space. PRESENTING YOUR MISSIONARIES Depending on the size of your church’s budget you could have a different missionary every night of your conference. Each missionary should have enough time to present his or her field to the church. It is good to have enough missionaries in the conference so that a different field is presented for each service, except Sunday. Maximum impact for the church will occur when all of the missionaries are present for the whole conference. Churches with smaller budgets may want to have each missionary come for only one night.
44 Faith Promise Giving Allowing the missionaries to present special needs or projects during the conference will challenge your people and be a blessing to all. These needs could be presented during every service except during Sunday. One or two minutes are ample time to do this. This will involve the people in the pew because the need presented ought to be within the reach of the people to provide. The more your people are involved in the conference the better results you will have. Remember, missionaries are the most important people in the world. They carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to places where most of us would never want to go or be able to go. They have sacrificed a great deal to minister on the field where God has called them. So present your missionaries as they rightly deserve. They are ambassadors for Christ and special guests in your church. Treat them as kings and queens for the kingdom of God’s sake. It is possible for different groups in the church such as the youth, the ladies or men’s brotherhood, senior’s groups, or staff to have luncheon’s where the missionary or missionary wife could make special appearances. They could give their testimonies or stories from the mission field. Luncheon attenders could give testimonies about their faith promise giving experiences. Present your missionaries in the Sunday School, and the Wednesday night youth program. Educating the children to missions is very essential to their spiritual development. From the youth we will have our future missionaries. Many missionaries relate how they first began to be stirred to missions while they were very young in Sunday School and youth camps. PRAISE AND WORSHIP IN THE MISSIONS CONFERENCE The missions conference is an excellent time to have great uplifting music. All of the music should be in harmony with the theme of world evangelism and missions. There are a number of great missions’ songs and hymns that can be used. Praise and worship music that promotes missions can stir the soul of everyone present. Some hymns have been rewritten with appropriate
Biblical Principles of Grace Giving 45 missions’ lyrics that everyone will enjoy learning. Some of these songs will be made available in this manual. Missionaries and their families often have musical abilities. Find out about their talents and ask them to sing during the conference. A special singing group from outside of your church could also be invited, but make sure they will sing missions oriented songs and hymns. The music minister needs to be sure that not too much music has been prepared. Remember the emphasis is on missionaries, not music. A well-choreographed music program can complement the missionary program in a most effective manner. A flag march with a great missions’ song is very stirring. The use of a TV screen to project the music will keep the people looking up instead of down into a hymnal. PREPARING FOR THE SATURDAY INTERNATIONAL BANQUET An international banquet, which features food from around the world, is a time where once again your people will have opportunity to get involved and be creative. Most any kind of food can be found at your grocery store and prepared with little or no trouble. However, there will be a few recipes for international dishes included in this manual that you may want to consider for your banquet. It is always a good idea to label the dishes as to what they are and what country they represent. Six o’clock PM is a good time to have this dinner. However, some would prefer to have this at the lunch hour with an early service. If the program is at night be sure to let the folks out early because of the services, the next morning. Ask the missionaries to sit with your church members. Otherwise, the missionaries will tend to sit with each other and not mingle with the people. Usually the missionaries are asked to go through the buffet line first. It would be quite easy to simply assign each one a table at which to sit. It is most beneficial for
46 Faith Promise Giving the people to personally get to know the missionaries and their families if possible. After your international meal, a regular conference service may be held, or you may want to show a missions’ video. You may want to have a question and answer forum where your people may ask questions of the missionaries. Remember one of the important goals of a mission’s conference is the involvement of your people. You may also consider having weekday luncheons where people may come during their lunch hour and eat with the missionaries. The luncheon could include a short missionary message while everyone is finishing off his or her dessert. This would have to be organized well to be effective. You do not want anyone to be late for work. A Saturday luncheon for the ladies would be especially nice where the missionary wives are the focus of attention. Have one or two of the wives give their testimony and/or a story from the mission field. A Saturday morning breakfast for the men and boys would be a great time for the missionaries to interact and share some special experience that they had on the mission field and give a devotion. PROMISES (Commitments) RECEIVED Receiving the Faith Promise Commitments is the highlight of the Faith Promise Missions Conference. Therefore, following the suggested guidelines would be most important. There are variations to the procedure but do not depart far from the suggested format if at all possible. The commitment cards ought to be professionally printed. They may be procured from Macedonian Missionary Service, from another missions group, or you may design your own. There is no place to include one’s name. Remember this is a commitment between the individual and God. Having the age of the person helps determine the validity of the promise. The age is important to determine if the commitment is from a child or adult.
Biblical Principles of Grace Giving 47 My Faith Promise Card In dependence upon God, and as He provides, I will promise to give, in addition to my regular tithe and offerings, each week/month toward the mission work of our church the amount indicated. $_____________________ age____ Weekly / Monthly (please indicate amount committed) (Please circle weekly or monthly) RECEIVING THE FAITH PROMISE COMMITMENT CARDS There is a variety of ways to receive the commitment cards. Most churches receive the cards on Sunday morning at the end of the service. It is probably best to give the cards out before the preaching on commitment Sunday. Have your ushers ready with an ample supply of cards. Make sure that it is announced that everyone is to receive a card whether they intend to participate in the commitment or not. This way no one will know if someone does not participate. Simply instruct the people that do not wish to fill it out to leave the card blank, placing it in the offering plate. At the end of the service have the ushers ready to pick up the cards quickly. All the while the pastor or keynote speaker is encouraging the people to try God and see if He won’t bless their faith. Encourage the children as well as those on fixed income that God can especially bless their faith. As soon as the cards are received they should be delivered to the church treasurer or a designated person to total up. While the tallying is taking place it would be appropriate for testimonies to be given by those who have already experienced God’s provisions by faith. It would be good to have a pre-selected person that you know will be able to do this. As soon as the counting is done there should be an announcement to the whole congregation before they leave the building. Everyone will leave rejoicing. If the church has been involved with Faith Promise giving for a few years you may want to give out the commitment cards at
48 Faith Promise Giving every service and ask those who already know what God wants them to do to make their commitment. Then read aloud the totals at the end of each service. Do this each night encouraging those who have already made commitments to increase them by faith. Then at the end of the conference there will be an excitement and anticipation of what the total will be. By the way, continue to give out commitment cards for the next couple of weeks, because some of the people might have missed the conference and you want everyone to have an opportunity to participate. PERFORMANCE MAINTENACE OF THE FAITH PROMISE Maintaining faith promise giving throughout the year is very important. Have a definite plan to keep the people informed and motivated to continue their faith promises. If the people fall short of their goal, there will be disappointment. If consistently followed these suggestions will help the church to reach its goal. 1. Offering envelopes: Supply the church with a dollar size envelope that is separate from other offering envelopes. If one envelope is used for all church offerings be sure that the section for faith promise is marked clearly. I have found that providing a specially colored envelope designated for faith promise alone really works best. This way everyone knows what the envelopes are for. Be sure to have envelopes for the Sunday School children and the Wednesday night youth. 2. The Faith Promise missions offering should be used only for the purpose for which it was raised. Nothing will kill a missions giving program more rapidly than misusing the mission money. As an added note, some churches use the faith promise method of giving to raise funds for a church building or property. It is my opinion that if this were done it should not be called faith promise. Otherwise there will be confusion about the nature of faith promise giving which has been consistently used for raising funds for worldwide missions. 3. Reading missionary letters in the mid-week service on a regular basis is most helpful in keeping missionary needs and reports
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Faith Promise Giving Biblical Principles of Grace Giving “You and Your Church Can Make a Difference in World Missions” David P. Smith, Th.D.