For congregations to thrive and Christ’s mission among us to flourish, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has entered a season of discovering where God would focus our work together. Take CBF’s online survey about your church and your personal ministry aspirations before Feb. 2.
This devotional is part of a series in January that tells stories of “Bold Faith” written by CBF field personnel and members of a team composed of clergy and laity from across the Fellowship who are leading of process of prayerful discovery that will result in a faithful response. Find out more about this process called Toward Bold Faithfulness.
By Daniel Martino
Within the DNA of our church, we have always sought to find new opportunities to carry out our mission in the City of New London, Connecticut. This time wasn’t any different. It had been almost 10 years since we had sat in a committee meeting asking the fundamental question: “What is God calling us to do and become during this season?”
Just seven years ago, prior to this current meeting, we had inaugurated the idea for a new house of worship. It was an endeavor of faith where we witnessed the supernatural hand of God at work. Since that time, the church has grown exponentially in membership, new ministries and evangelistic outreach. All this brought on new demands and a greater commitment which we had not seen before. But this time, it was different. This question was never put more to the test than when we radically chose to begin the bidding process for construction during the greatest economic crisis in the country. It was a time of tension, instability and uncertainty. At that moment, it seemed as if everything should be put on hold; even good friends from the church recommended to not build!
Quickly, the vision God had given us transformed into fervent prayer for the Lord’s direction and guidance, and the answer came without delay. The answer reminded us of the principles we already knew and recognized: First and foremost, the Lord is never in crisis.
Second, it was the opportune moment to exercise our trust in Yahweh Jireh, our Provider with endless resources to do extraordinary works despite what the context (world) around us dictated.
Third, faithfulness to God’s plan for us will always bring fruit, so we must not worry.
And so, we began to build.
The Lord continued to remind us of His promises, and the biblical principle of faithfulness through our tithes and offerings so that we could experience in abundance the provision He has for us (Malachi 3:10). We continued praying, and the element of fear no longer became an option; we confronted each task with faith and perseverance.
While strategy calculates, faith brings abundance.
Ten years ago, I sat around a committee meeting with a bold question, and four months later, we saw the fruit of our bold faithfulness. We inaugurated plans for a new 6000–square foot building that united outreach ministries intended to respond to the unique needs of the community at large. We saw the greatest economic prosperity the church has ever seen in its 32 years of existence. We encountered dozens of stories of families experiencing God’s favor through employment opportunities and financial stability. We expanded our team to employ associate aastors and new staff members. We saw abundance in the midst of recession.
When I reflect back on our journey to this place, I am reminded of the words of the prophet Elijah to the widow at Zarephath: “The bold does not run out of flour nor does the jar run out of oil” (1 King 17:16).
After all these years, our church remains confident and grateful for God’s provision. With joyful hearts, we are witnesses to bold faithfulness. Our faith has grown in this communal testimony, for we know that, “He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).
Rev. Daniel Martino serves as the senior pastor of Church of the City in New London, Conn., as well as part of the Discovery Team for the Toward Bold Faithfulness initiative. To take a step in bold faith alongside the Discovery Team, take the survey today at www.cbf.net/survey.