by David Hansen, Pastor at Spirit of Joy! and LEAD Director of Communication & Innovation
“I believe that by my own power or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy, and kept me in the true faith.”
Martin Luther, Small Catechism
Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit – something which we cannot earn or achieve through our own effort. Along the way, the Spirit places in our path people who help us toward faith and discipleship. People whose presence in our lives calls us to faith, or to deeper, more mature faith.
These people go by lots of different names: guides, mentors, confessors, influencers, advisors. As the LEAD team has shared our stories with one another, we call them “faith givers” – faithful people empowered by God to share the gift of faith with us.
I am a pastor’s kid, and so I was raised by the church and in the church. Sitting in the church fellowship hall, my feet swinging from the metal folding chair while Dad was teaching and Mom was in choir rehearsal. And there, the saints of the church saw me and began to gift me with faithfulness.
I always cringe at this sort of list because I am likely to forget people – but that is no reason to not start giving thanks. Here is the beginning of my list of faith givers as I give thanks to God for them and the faith they have shared with me:
- My Godparents: Kathy and Joe, Cec and Johnny
- Lawrence and Florence, who sat with me in the pew every Sunday, and the rest of the Bethany crew
- Youth leaders like Bob and Cathy and Shawn
- Pastors (because even PKs need a pastor!) like Pastor Kirsten and Pastor Kelly
- Mentors along the way like Richard, Gerry, Dennis, Mike, and Charles
- Friends whose lives and love are gifts of faith: Derrick, Aaron, Deb, Carol, Jason, Andrea, Kathi, Scott, Joelle, Keith, Kristin, Lance, and too many more to name
- Megan, my spouse
- My daughter, parents, brothers, niece and nephews, and in laws
I bet you have a list like this too.
The LEAD team would like to help you to say THANK YOU to the faith givers of your life.
How? Go to Faith Givers.
- Click on Give Now to make a donation online with a credit card or by mailing a check to LEAD.
- Include the names and email addresses of the people or congregations you want to honor (up to 5 per donation). There is no minimum gift.
Emails will pour into inboxes and the people you choose to recognize will know that when they share their faith, it really matters!