Current World Population  Jesus died for all. (1 John 2:2) 


The Faith Promise Way

C. Sumner Wemp

Taken from Moody Monthly Magazine, September, 1968. Used by permission.

On the sanctuary platform of Meadows Baptist Church in northwest suburban Chicago stands a large semi-circular dial--its needle pointing to a figure in excess of 300 and still climbing.

The dial reflects the number of people the congregation expects to win to Jesus next year. Earlier this year more than one hundred had turned in pledge cards saying that by faith they would trust God to use them in reaching one or more persons for the Lord in the year to come. By midsummer these individual "faith-promise" pledges totaled 308.

For a number of years the church has applied the "faith-promise" concept at its annual missionary conference. Members are urged to ask God in prayer what He wants them to give to missions during the year. Many respond by pledging far beyond what they feel they can afford to give, humanly speaking, trusting God somehow to provide. Those who have taken this step of faith then have often seen God provide the income in astounding and unforeseen ways.

Now they have applied the concept to evangelism too.

It all started early this year when I was speaking in a conference on evangelism at one of Chicago's southern suburban churches. Suddenly it struck me--why not ask for a faith promise for soul winning? I challenged the congregation with the idea--then later issued the same challenge at Meadows Baptist.

In April I asked students in my practical Christian work class at Moody Bible Institute to try it. One girl prayed about her faith-promise and was almost stunned as the Lord laid it upon her heart to ask for one hundred souls! One weekend alone she led seven people to Christ and was overwhelmed at how easily each one responded--simply because they were prepared of the Lord. Her studies, her whole life, suddenly took on new meaning and purpose.

At a Grace Brethren pastor's conference in California this year a number made faith promises. One pastor, really "turned on" for the Lord, began claiming by faith souls for Jesus Christ. In less than a month he had led six people to a first-time decision; he had seen no fruit for months before.

Christian students from Western Michigan University took me up on the faith promise challenge at a weekend retreat. Many went back to the campus with new vision. One fellow felt impressed immediately to witness to a particular friend. He entered the fellow's dormitory room scared and uncertain about his approach, only to have the friend mention what a hypocrite he had felt like while in church the previous Sunday. Within fifteen minutes the two were down on their knees in prayer as the friend invited Christ into his life. The next day he won the second convert of his career--the friend's seventeen-year-old kid brother.

Every Christian ought to be able to win one person to Christ in a year's time. Surely each Christian could trust God for at least one soul a year--then pray him to Christ, if nothing else! If every Christian did, think what would happen. A church would double in a year!

The genius of the faith-promise concept is that it casts one's dependence upon God. When one pledges for missions in this way, he does not confine himself to what he thinks he can afford to give, nor does he look for ways through his own ability--by working harder or longer--that he can acquire some extra money to pledge. Instead, he looks to God. The concept applied to evangelism is parallel. One does not confine himself to what he "feels" he is able to win, for a Christian has no ability in himself to win souls. All of one's genius, personality, zeal or sincerity will not persuade one person to receive Christ--God does it all. When this is realized, it takes the strain from one's self and puts dependence on God.

Too many don't expect to see results and souls saved because they have the erroneous idea that it takes a certain type personality or that soul winning is a gift to a very few. They feel inadequate or say they have no gift for evangelism. But soul winning depends upon God. He wants to use everyone. 

A young preacher once asked Charles Spurgeon why it was that every time Spurgeon preached people were saved, but when he preached nothing happened. Spurgeon asked, "You don't expect someone to be saved every time you preach, do you?"

The young preacher said, "No!"

"Well," answered the wise preacher, "that's just why you don't see them.":

Christians need to be awakened to their unbelief and exhorted to ask of God in faith. "Ye have not because ye ask not" (James 4:2) apples to soul winning as well as to material matters.

The church that tries faith-promise evangelism should ask its people to report conversions through the offering. These can be recorded and announced to the church, along with the number who have made public professions in the service itself. Such reports serve as encouragement. God recorded the 3,000 at Pentecost and then 5,000 later (Acts 4:4) for our encouragement. Why not today?

Giving an opportunity for new Christians to confess Christ at the end of a service during the invitation obeys the command of Matthew 10:32, strengthens the congregation and challenges believers to witness. Testimonies from time to time during a Sunday evening service or a Wednesday evening prayer service also will do much to keep the fires of evangelism burning.

Your church might want to combine a missionary and an evangelism conference. The faith promise plan for both can be presented at the same time. There is the tragic danger Christians will try to "buy off" their responsibilities of witnessing by sending missionaries to witness for them. To wed the two is both scriptural and essential for a healthy, balanced church. No church can really be missionary minded, no matter how much the missionary offerings, if its members are not witnessing themselves in their own "Jerusalem." (Acts 1:8).

We are having a population explosion in every kingdom under heaven except the Kingdom of Heaven. One reason is because we build our big beautiful churches, have our robed choirs, cushioned pews and air-conditioned auditoriums and then announce, "Come and hear." God is saying, "Go and tell."

The faith promise concept could have the same effect on evangelism that it has had in missions--and the impact could be felt around the world. Why not ask God how many he expects you to win in these months to come--and then by faith trust God and expect God to use you in the greatest task of them all.