‘But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.’ Jeremiah 17:7
Each Christian has, what we at LICC call, a ‘frontline’ — the places where we spend our time, especially with people who don’t know Jesus. Whether that’s work, home, the shops, or the local gym, we have people we come across who we can serve with the good news of Jesus – both directly and indirectly.
Being a disciple of Jesus should affect our whole lives, and our frontlines can be really challenging at times, as well as places of real joy. And, over the years as we’ve talked to church leaders and congregations, it has become clear that many Christians lack confidence to live out their faith on their frontlines. It’s often easier to be followers of Jesus on a Sunday, surrounded by church family, than it is in the places we spend our time Monday through Saturday.
But where does confidence come from?
Jeremiah faced huge challenges throughout his prophetic ministry. Tasked with proclaiming an unpopular message to a king and a people who didn’t want to listen, he had to put his trust entirely in God. There were many times he faced extreme danger. He’d been given the task to communicate God’s word, and God had given him the skills. Even so, he needed to trust God entirely – to put his confidence in him. He learnt through experience that those who trust in the Lord, who rest the weight of their confidence on Him, wherever they are, are indeed blessed. They are being the people God calls them to be.
When we think of confidence, though, it can be as a negative – especially when its much closer to arrogance. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can still be confident whilst exhibiting humility and deep trust in God on our frontlines.
The kind of confidence we long for as God’s people is not that kind of unattractive self-confidence but faith-confidence – confidence based on what God has done and what he continues to do through those who trust in him. Our lives lived out with faith-confidence before a watching world provide a compelling message, prompting the question of where this hope come from? What gives you such confidence? We can think here of 1 Peter 3:15 which exhorts us to be prepared to give an answer for our hope, all because our lives have provoked questions.
Faith-confidence grows through:
- being convinced – trusting completely in the gospel and the power of God;
- supportive community – knowing that there are brothers and sisters in Christ who are encouraging and praying for you;
- cultivating compassion – love and godly concern are a powerful motivator to having the confidence to do the right thing;
- daily consistency – spiritual practices and disciplines that grow our relationship with God and provide the foundation for daily confidence whatever we might face;
- developing competence – growing not just in our roles but also in our ability to communicate the gospel in a way that points people to Jesus; and
- resolved courage – when we face injustice or tough times courage propels us like nothing else.
LICC has created a devotional journey that explores these themes. It’s launching on 22 February, and will be available via email or on YouVersion. There are also accompanying sermon notes and small group guides. Whilst the 40-day devotional journey has been designed to be followed throughout Lent, the sermon notes could be used at any time, though, for a six-week sermon series.
To sign up, or to access the resources, visit: licc.org.uk/confidence
But how, as a church leader, can you help to build faith-confidence amongst those in your church?
Churches and church leaders are hugely influential in helping to grow healthy disciples ready to make a difference in Jesus’ name, wherever they are. And we know how important community is for sharing ideas and encouraging one another. But we know it’s not easy to do that. There are so many different pulls and pressures on church leaders, and ensuring frontlines don’t get overtaken by the everyday headlines and deadlines is a challenge. That’s why LICC has recently launched a Facebook group for church leaders to encourage and inspire them for whole-life disciple-making.
The group is for anyone who has a leadership role in their church – be that paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time, administrative or pastoral. To see whole-life disciple-making embedded in the life of the church, all types of leaders will need to play their part.
Each week, there will be new content to keep the community thinking and talking about whole-life discipleship, as well as opportunities to share ideas and find wisdom and encouragement. If you’re any kind of church leader, you can find us by searching ‘LICC Church Leaders’ on Facebook groups. We’d be delighted to welcome you.
If you’re any kind of church leader, you can find us at https://facebook.com/groups/churchleaderslicc. We’d be delighted to welcome you.
God longs for his church to reach our nation, and the world, with the good news of Jesus Christ. We can go confidently into our own frontlines – and equip others for theirs – because we know that it’s God’s world, it’s his church, his good news, his grace, and his power at work in his people. And he can be trusted. When our confidence is in the Lord, it’s never misplaced.