Exploring the Formation of Faith in Spiritual Leaders From a Christian Worldview

Can spiritual leaders grow in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding through faith formation? The article share insights on Faith Formation in leaders.

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Faith of Abraham Hebrews 11:6

In this scripture we see the three elements of faith in operation. The conviction of Abraham that God had spoken to him was a necessity. On his conviction, he obeyed the voice of God to leave the Ur of the Chaldees and went to Haran. (Gen 11:27-32). Moreover, the substance of truth was in existence! Abraham had an intimate relationship with God! In this verse of scripture the Holy Spirit notes: “he cometh to God” and he rewards those that: “diligently seek him.” In other words, Abrahams’ blessings were conditional on his relationship with God; as well as his obedience to God. Here we see that faith is mandatory for those who approach Him. Moreover, his intimate relationship with God, gave him the conviction to act out his faith in the form of obedience.

Faith of Abraham Romans 4:16-22

Verse 16: God’s promises to Abraham were founded on his faith so that it would be acknowledged that salvation was through grace, that is, God favor. Abraham’s blessing was not conditioned by any law, but simply on his faith.

Verse 18: Although Abraham knew that his body was physically beyond having a child, he based his hope on God’s promises instead of what he felt. He believed that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars of heaven, because God had promised it.

Verse 20: Abraham, by his faith, acknowledges God’s faithfulness and power to keep His promise.

The Formation of Faith in a Leader:

The formation of faith in a leader is based on a number of critical factors; but first and foremost having an intimate relationship with God. Simply put, a leader must come to know God! This level of knowledge comes only through personal experiences with God; that supernaturally builds faith. The WD4 of faith alluded to by Dr. Michael Mitchell in “Let’s Talk about Faith” is very consistent with my personal faith development. These four W’s are critical to a leader’s faith development:

  1. Word: spending considerable time in prayer and meditation in God’s Word. (Romans 10:17; John 15:1-11).
  2. Work: this comes from first-hand knowledge of God through personal experiences. The Lord makes Himself known by revelation! He delivers, miraculously heals, or proves Himself in some other way. It is so profound that, you know that you know that it had to be God. (Romans 10:2; John 8:19).
  3. Walk: “Be led by the Holy Spirit!” This can only be achieved when a leader comes to know the voice of God. This is not based on a feeling or a hunch! It is a distinct “knowing” of that small still voice that speaks into your spirit. At first, there is uncertainty, but one still steps out in faith and does whatever one believes He has said to do. However, as time passes and one steps out in faith over and over again; it builds confidence, faith and obedience. This process continues as one walks in obedience to the Holy Spirit. It becomes like bricklaying! The Word is the first brick, then the Work brick is the second, and the Walk is the third. Yet, they are all working in tandem to build a solid foundation of faith. (Gal 5:16-18; Col 1:9-10)
  4. Wait: This is the most critical in the faith building process; because it is the most difficult. There are numerous times that time seems to stand still. It feels as though one is stuck in a rut. However, the Lord is testing one’s faith at a higher level, while synonymously building character. As the leader successfully past these series of tests; he or she builds the assurance to wait until they hear the distinct voice of the Lord before making any rash decisions. (Psalm 62:5; Proverbs 3:4-5)

It is important to reiterate that these elements of faith-building do not work independently.

They work in tandem! The leader must consistently imbibe the Word of God in his or her spirit, fervently pray, be led by the Holy Spirit, and wait patiently on God simultaneously. Faith and obedience are symbiotic! In other words, faith cannot be established, while a leader continues to operate in disobedience. Moreover, obedience must be swift; since delayed obedience equates to disobedience. Ultimately, faith is activated only when action is taken in obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. This action (release of faith) brings the hand of God into action; because our faith has pleased Him. (James 2:14-17; Hebrews 11:6).