By Carl Stagner
Money unusually attained, deliberately retained, surprisingly regained, or intentionally maintained. For some it might be a tax refund or a holiday bonus. For others it might be an unexpected gift or a time of fasting from eating out. All are just a few of the ways Church of God people have met and surpassed pledges to give back to the Lord through a spiritual adventure known as Faith Promise. Beyond regular tithes and offerings, Faith Promise offers the chance to exercise faith’s muscle and walk with God into the unknown, believing he will provide. As you help your church reach its goal, the Lord might lead you to step out of the boat, but rest assured! On this adventure, participants find themselves walking on water.
Embraced by Church of God congregations for decades, Faith Promise has proven to be a spiritually-invigorating experience for pastors and laypeople alike. Churches plan a Faith Promise Sunday on which individuals and families are challenged to pledge, by faith, a certain amount to allocate for ministry and missions that goes beyond their congregation. Over a specified period of time, money that comes in unexpectedly, or money that is held on to with intentionality, is collected to fulfill pledges. Participants may be hesitant to make their Faith Promise without guaranteed results, but they are routinely amazed when God honors their faith.
“I was raised in a family that constantly said you can’t out-give God,” Bob Moss, chief advancement officer for Church of God Ministries, explains. “In my experience, the Faith Promise emphasis is just another way of demonstrating that truth. Over my years of pastoring, the more cynical voices have accused Faith Promise of being a gimmick. I came to understand it not as a gimmick, but as an adventure with God. The testimonies in the churches that I served became a joyful celebration of God’s provision and encouraged other believers.”
Bob Moss’s experience with Faith Promise began while he was a student at Warner Pacific College. He was attending Holladay Park Church of God in Portland where Cliff Tierney served as pastor. An ardent proponent of Faith Promise, Cliff Tierney joyfully put into practice what he preached. He kept a record of the times God revealed himself through the Faith Promise experience, including one that Bob recounts quite vividly.
“He described going to a restaurant with a friend, intending to pay the bill, but his friend whisked it away and picked up the bill,” Bob explains. “Rev. Tierney would target that as an unexpected resource, make a note of what he would have paid but didn’t, and would give it as Faith Promise. I was intrigued with his journey, and decided to try it even as a college student. Soon, I discovered the joy of Faith Promise giving for myself.”
As pastor of congregations through the years, Bob Moss carried on the life-giving practice of Faith Promise that was modeled so well by his pastor.
Maybe it’s been years since your church tried Faith Promise. Maybe this is the first you or anyone in your church has ever heard of Faith Promise. Bob urges you to take advantage of the opportunity to breathe new life into your ministry while expanding your reach. “I would encourage all pastors to think about Faith Promise as an ongoing part of their annual stewardship emphasis,” Bob says. “It gives opportunities for spontaneous testimonies, and offers pastors and churches the chance to see small victories that can lead up to a very big change in the culture of giving at their church.”
Look for new Faith Promise tools and downloadable resources coming soon to www.JesusIsTheSubject.org/FaithPromise.
Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.