During the Covid-19 quarantine I have made several projects. After reading Adam Savage’s book Every Tool is a Hammer, I came across a passage where he described his childhood creation of a cut out drawing of his stuffed animal. He describes this as “sponge and mirror,” which got me to thinking about how my projects were reflections of what I am feeling during this time. I ask the question, “Why did I build/make the things that I built/made? How are these projects “sponge and mirror” of my heart? What have you been doing during the quarantine? How are these things reflective of how you feel?
I wrote this article years ago and have held off posting it because as a staff person, I didn’t want a particular pastor or church to see this and to try and “read between the lines.” Most of this are lessons I have learned as serving as a senior pastor and the mistakes I have made as a senior leader. Having served in most typical church positions (excluding music) and as an executive director, these are lessons from various churches, various positions, various regions of the country. That being said, now the article.
Leading a staff is never easy. There are various personalities that sometimes need a little extra effort to “get along.” Others click very well at the exclusion of the rest of the staff. Throw in a church that is filled with differing expectations, vision conflict, personal drama, life circumstances, and you have a storm off the starboard bow. All of these things are compounded the larger the church and the larger the staff grows.
There is also behind the scenes, a very real enemy who seeks to “steal, kill, and destroy.” It is the Enemy’s goal to stop the gospel from going out, and to keep the church void of any genuine work. At the helm of all these complications is the pastor whose job is to navigate through these treacherous waters. Often times in all the squalls of life we allow ourselves to become too focused on the immediate and lose sight of the big picture. The following is a quick reference guide to what staff need from their pastor. They are simple ideas, but if ignored the pastor will run the ship right into the rocks.
Plan to have a regular time where you convey information that you know as pastor that the staff may not be aware of. You sit in on meetings and are briefed on topics the general congregation is not aware of. The staff should never find out information alongside the rest of the church, deacons, or other volunteer leadership. If you cannot trust the staff to use discretion with information then you need to address the issue with the vocal/informative staff person, not shut down all information to the whole staff. There are few things more demoralizing to staff than for them to find out information behind literally the entire church. You don’t like to get blindsided or surprised, so don’t do it to your staff.
Don’t expect them to support something if they are the last to know. They need time to think about the topic and see how they can support it in their given areas. By them receiving this information with everyone else, you are indicating to them that at a minimum you don’t need (or want) their support, and worse case don’t need (or want) any expertise, advice, prayer, etc. they may offer on the topic. It doesn’t slow the process down to drop back and explain things to your staff.
2. Clear Direction
If you have a direction that you would like for the staff to go toward, then take the time to make that very clear (even put it in writing; e-mails, texts, notes, etc.) The best way to do this is to have a designated time when you meet face-to-face (or Zoom) and talk about specific topics.
A very helpful first step is a job description and yearly evaluations. Motivated staff want to know that they are working toward a common goal and direction. They hate having to backtrack to go in another direction. Staff with limited budgets, hate having to constantly change direction because it wastes those limited resources. Don’t waste their time and energy because you want them to go in one direction but have not taken the time to make it clear to them. Don’t assume that they can read your thoughts, or what you assume they should understand from your body language.
3. Genuine Affirmation and Respect
When you affirm them in the public setting show genuine respect. You are not showing someone respect when you constantly call them by the wrong name, or haven’t taken the time to learn their kid’s names. Avoid irrelevant platitudes like “she’s so good with the kids.” Instead, give recent real life examples of how the staff person is doing a good job. If you don’t respect your staff, they won’t respect you. This respect also overflows into meetings, and general office settings. Professional courtesy goes a long way toward guarding against frustrations and anger among staff.
4. Honor Boundaries
Each staff person was hired to cover a specific set of job responsibilities and you should assume that they take that ministry very seriously. While working against developing silos (click here for an article on this topics) senior leadership should recognize and honor how there are boundaries in specific areas within the church. When changes are made in one area of the church, be aware that those changes, more than likely, will affect other areas of the church (click here to read an article on how systems affect each other).
Boundaries can also mean days off, personal time, or even asking them to do things for you personally that are not directly related to their ministry positions. If they were hired as a full time staff person then that means those responsibilities on the job description would take the full amount of time. In other words, don’t keep adding things to their job responsibilities that will affect their time at home, weekday evenings, etc. Yes, there will be times when staff need to help the team do things that were not on the job description, but it should not be a constant expectation.
5. Give Staff What They Need To Do Their Job
Often times this takes the form of a budget. Work to see that they have what they need to lead the ministry that they have been hired to do. It is with in the pastor’s position to guide and direct various committees to go in various directions. Because you have taken the time to talk with your staff and understand the direction they are leading their various departments then you have accurate information to be able to see they get what they need.
If they are constantly requesting more funds, donations, volunteers, etc. and they feel you are doing nothing, then they will feel frustrated. It will feel like the staff person is drowning and you are just standing there watching, making no effort to help.
6. Have Their Back
Staff members should never doubt that the pastor supports them, what they are doing, and gives that support vocally and publicly. Work out differences privately, but when the staff try new things get behind them and push (hard). If you want to have a high rotation of staff, then keep throwing them under the bus or stepping back away from them when things go “sideways.”
If they ask you to use your pulpit to support them, then see how it could be blended into a sermon or some other way to emphasize it. Remember that innovation, change, and steps forward come at the price of trying things that don’t work. If you don’t support them in those times of mistakes, then they will eventually quit trying and do what they know is “safe.” When staff begin to all do what has always been done, the way it has always been done, then there will be the eventual plateau and decline. But before you blame the staff, take a hard look in the mirror.
7. Make the Hard Calls
The pastor (or senior leader) holds the position to lead and make the hard calls. This often involves strong personalities, spiritually immature, and selfish people. Don’t let these sinful people run rough shod over your staff. If a hard decision needs to be made, make it. Don’t ignore it, wait forever to make a decision, or avoid it. Often the staff can’t move forward until you make a decision — just realize that the senior pastor holds his position because hard calls need to be made. If you don’t make these calls it can be detrimental to your staff moving their specific areas forward. Yes, you may make the wrong call, but that’s ok because your staff and leadership will have your back (see#6) because you have supported them, and they know why you are making the call the way you did (see #1). No one expects senior leadership to make the right call 100% of the time, but if you wait too long to make calls then they are wrong 100% of the time.
8. Get to Know Their Ministry
As a pastor, if you have never served as a staff person or in a specific area (children, youth, senior adults, etc.) then take the time to see what the ministry is like and what is involved to carry it out. You should never have to ask “why do you need a budget increase?” or “why are are you not able to add this new responsibility to your weekly work schedule?” You should know (see #2 & 5). The church has chosen to hire a specific staff person to do a specific job.
This usually involves a designated (or expected/required) amount of hours and responsibilities. Help to guard their plate by not allowing others (or yourself) to continuously add responsibilities to staff. All positions have busy (i.e. stressful) times of the year (for the Children’s Pastor it may be Vacation Bible School i.e.). If you know this, then it would be very helpful to the staff for you to stand guard for them as they do their job, or (heaven forbid) even help in these areas during these stressful and very busy times.
Andy Stanley has what he calls “the gap.” This is where a staff member does something that appears to break the rules or cultural expectations of the organization. Stanley gives the example of arriving to a staff meeting late. When this happens, and with no explanation given, people naturally fill “the gap” with why they are late. If they are given the benefit of the doubt then the person who observes the late staff person will say to themselves, “his car must have broken down,” or “someone must have stopped him for a ministry related issue,” etc.
What ever they place in this gap, it should assume the best of the person. Staff members need to know that their direct supervisor has faith in them and is not always assuming the worst. If their “boss” is always assuming the worst every time something appears negative, then it can be very frustrating and demoralizing. It will wear on them after a while — they will always feel like they have to explain everything. Always assume the best and good quality people will rise to the expectation. Always assume the worst and people will rebel and harbor ill will.  This is really a matter of trust. Does the senior pastor trust the staff? If so, trust them to do their jobs and assume they are doing their job to the best of their abilities.
10. Grow Your Staff
Staff need to know that you love them and want what’s best for them (and their families). When you meet with and talk about their ministries, if they begin to pick up that you see them as disposable tools and that they are there to make you look good, then they will not be supportive of your leadership. One of the best ways to convey this attitude is for you to constantly focus on their ministry numbers, performance, events, etc. and not really care about their future (or their family’s future). Staff are not there to make your name known, they are in ministry to make Christ’s name known. If you will invest in them and help them grow, then the kingdom of God is better served for it, and they will respect you.
So there you have it, 10 things staff need from their pastor or senior leader. Let me know what you think in the comment section below. Thanks for taking time to read the article!
 This is assuming that the staff person is not constantly late for reasons of irresponsibility. If a staff person earns the reputation for having negative reasons for the gaps that is another issue entirely. It is really hard to assume the best in a staff person if they are always having “gaps.” If they know they are going to be late, for example, then they should call. This does not make being late “ok,” but it does show the leader that they are aware of the gap and are trying their best to rebuild the trust.
At an orientation for the Georgia Southern Baptist Disaster Relief I was introduced to a well-established command structure called “Incident Command System.” Wikipedia defines it as,
“ICS includes procedures to select and form temporary management hierarchies to control funds, personnel, facilities, equipment, and communications. Personnel are assigned according to established standards and procedures previously sanctioned by participating authorities. ICS is a system designed to be used or applied from the time an incident occurs until the requirement for management and operations no longer exist.”
Essentially it is when you have people showing up to help in an emergency situation and there has to be some way to organize them. People are coming from all levels of society and having a plethora of abilities. So offices (logistics, communications, planning, finance, etc.) are established beforehand and individuals are placed into these positions in the field. Once they are chosen to a position, they are then given a notebook with procedures and predetermined tasks to be completed – and they get to work while reporting to the Incident Commander.
This system for the SBC Disaster Relief is premised on the different color hat system. At the basic and lowest level is the yellow hat. This is a person who has gone through orientation of how the overall system works, but may not have had training in specific areas (serving food, childcare, or debris removal). At the next level is the blue hat – this person is responsible for a team of yellow hats and has had training in one or all of the services offered.
Then above the blue hats is one white hat at a given location. Coordinating and leading the overall work is the Incident Command Team chosen by the white hat. These people could be yellow hat volunteers but who may have special training in one of the needed ICS offices.
After reviewing it I am fascinated at the system’s ability to have an adequate span of control and unity of command. If someone has more than five people reporting to them then they could get overwhelmed and not be able to adequately do their job because there is simply too much to oversee. This system allows groups to continue to be divided into manageable teams.
With unity of command everyone only reports to one person. If I am clearing debris then I go to one blue hat to tell me what to do. If I have an issue, question, etc. then I can go to one person.
I am also very intrigued by how disaster and potential chaos can be managed. Volunteers show up and they are orderly housed, fed, and put to work. Cargo and trucks full of materials and pallets of food are systematically moved in and out of a given devastated zone smoothly and orderly. Communications are set up and information begins to flow. If a given stage reaches an overly stressful level of complexity, a new layer is added to the ICS and the job continues.
So how does this apply to everyday life and in times when there are no hurricanes, alien invasions, wild fires, etc.
(1) If you respect the chain of command life becomes much easier. Just report to one person – If you find yourself reporting to more than more person, it means your system needs some adjusting. Communication is clear because you are dealing with one person.
(2) All levels of the organization are critical. The yellow hats are just as critical as the white hats – but everyone must do their job. If everyone stays in their lane and plays their part then great things could happen (thousands of people being fed a hot meal, roads cleared, and the world seeing Christ in a new way). If the yellow hats start trying to tell people what to do and play the role of blue hats then chaos ensues. Respect the system.
(3) If you are going to go into the world of chaos and change it then you need a plan. People need to know the plan (preferably before disaster hits), and it has to be simple (three colors, three hats). Imagine if there were 15 colors, shades of blue everywhere, name tags, hats, jackets, vests, all with different meanings. I can’t remember what I had for lunch much less a bunch of colors meaning different things. What we do has to be simple, memorable, and simple – did I say simple? I forgot. The more chaotic of a situation we run into, the simpler the instructions have to be.
(4) This one is a little off topic, but it came up at the orientation. You are only allowed to serve three days (four at the most) before you will be sent home and replaced with another team. It is recognized that this is a long-term effort and people (even if they want to serve more) shouldn’t be in chaos too long.
What if our leaders understood that they need to be watching to tap people on the shoulder and tell them to fall out of the battle and rest. If you are a white hat or blue hat leader you need to keep watch and make sure your people don’t work so hard and so long that they hurt themselves (this is especially true if they are yielding a chainsaw). I know that I would be much more willing to be loyal to my blue hat if I know he is watching my back.
(5) The goal is clear. For disaster relief the objective is clear even before you show up. There has been a natural disaster and there are people who need help. We are Christians and have been commanded to serve and help people and then share with them the hope of the gospel (in that order). In our organizations we must make the goal clear so that others may join us. Along those same lines, the way they join in (systems) must be clear as well. If they want to be apart of what you are doing do they know how to join in?
Here’s a link to Georgia Disaster Relief’s website if you want more information. https://missiongeorgia.org/georgia-disaster-relief/
and their Facebook page. https://missiongeorgia.org/georgia-disaster-relief/
About 350 years ago a shipload of travelers landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year they established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness. In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles westward into a wilderness. Who needed to go there anyway?
Here were people who had the vision to see three thousand miles across an ocean and overcome great obstacles to get there. But in just a few years they were not able to see even five miles out of town. They had lost their pioneering vision.
This reminds us there are always two ways of looking at things: with the eye of faith or without the eye of faith. Tell me, when you face life’s problems, perplexities, trials, and tribulations do you look at things with the eye of faith? When tragedy strikes, or sickness, or death, or calamity, do you face these things with the eye of faith? When you look at the wicked world we live in, a world that we are to conquer in Christ’s name, do you get discouraged and say “What can I do?” When we look at your church and where God is directing you, do you see the Promised Land, or do you see insurmountable obstacles?
For two years Israel has been traveling through the wilderness. Now, at last, the people are perched on the southern edge of the Promised Land. How exciting that they are now on the verge of entering the land God had promised to Abraham so many years before.
In today’s text only two men (Caleb and Joshua) stood out as men of faith among the millions of Israelites that were brought out of Egypt. In the midst of cowardice and unfaithfulness, Caleb and Joshua took a whole-hearted stand for God’s Word. In this age of Christian luke warmness (Revelation 3:15-19), may we be whole-hearted Christians (Colossians 3:23 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”) The following four things are evidence of a whole-hearted Christianity. It’s a way of living that distinctly stands out among the vast crowds.
Whole-hearted Christians Go Ahead of Everyone Else (vv. 1-16)
1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.” 3 So at the LORD’s command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites. . . . 16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua.)
Why would God need the Israelites to send spies? Didn’t God know what was there, wasn’t He with His people? Why not just march in and conquer? After all, hadn’t God promised this land to them? It was a test. God wanted to test the Israelites to see if they truly depended on Him and His promises to them. He wanted them to have a full picture of what they were going against in God’s name.
Joshua and Caleb were not only willing to be leaders of Israel (Numbers 13:3), enjoying the privileges of prestige and power but he was also willing to go on the difficult and risky forty-day spy mission into enemy territory (Numbers 13:17). Today’s Christians practice “selective obedience” — obeying what is easy, and ignoring what is difficult and unpleasant.
These men were willing to do what was required to be a leader. They were willing to sacrifice and obey. Many Christians obey God’s command to gather together for Sunday worship but ignore the command to separate from worldliness, be witnesses of the Gospel, contend for the faith and serve the LORD whole-heartedly.
“Selective obedience” is disobedience. When we choose what to obey, we are effectively telling God that we are His masters and have the right to decide for ourselves. Such people do not understand the meaning of obedience.
These men were willing to make themselves vulnerable for the sake of others. This group of leaders when they left the Israelite camp had a huge metaphorical target painted on them. If they were to be found out as spies, they most certainly would have been killed.
If we are to reach our world for Christ, we must expose ourselves and let our guard down. While it is true that if we never share our faith, or serve our neighbor, or minister in Christ’s name we will never be embarrassed, or have a sore back, or have time away form our pleasures. This is however a life lived selfishly.
Luke 9:23-25 “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”
They were willing to lay down their own lives for the sake of others. Are you willing to lay down your life for the sake of others? Whole-hearted Christians look for opportunities to be vulnerable for the sale of Christ and are willing to lay down their safety, comfortableness, personal resources, and even their lives for the opportunity to serve Christ.
Whole-hearted Christians Follow God’s Directions (vv. 17-20)
17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees on it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.)
God through Moses gives a plan for the spies to follow. He specifically gives them the route they are to follow and tells them what to look for. Moses let’s them know specific things that will be beneficial to their conquering the land.
Moses picks out one man from each of the twelve tribes. These twelve men act as a sort of commando group behind enemy lines: scouting the land; counting soldiers, horses, and chariots; checking out Canaan’s readiness for war; looking at city walls and gates. For forty days these men cautiously travel through the land watching, looking, counting, measuring, and taking notes.
Even before the report of the spies comes back, Moses is trying to discover the plan of attack, after all this was the Promised Land, and God has always been faithful. We see that these leaders follow this direction and it takes them a vineyard where they are able to carry off a huge cluster of grapes.
Whole-hearted Christians Bear the Burden of Proof In Their Lives (vv. 21-25)
21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 When they reached the Valley of Eshcol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshcol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there. 25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land.
Their first discovery, the cluster of grapes, was so big that it took two men to carry its weight. Here was the proof that the land was truly “flowing with milk and honey.” At the end of forty days these leaders brought back their experiences and this cluster of grapes.
God brought back evidence that He is being faithful, yet again. Has God ever been faithful in your life? We, like these men, are to carry around with us the proof that God is faithful in all of His promises.
The second discovery is not as nice as the first: the descendants of Anak, or, as they are called elsewhere in Scripture, the Nephilim. The Nephilim are a race of giants, mighty men who inspire fear and dread in the hearts of lesser men (cf Gen 6:4; Deut 1:28).
Whole-hearted Christians Give Truthful Testimony of God’s Word (vv. 26-33)
26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.” 30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”
Some Christians are willing to obey all of God’s commandments – as long as it does not cost them too much. They are willing to give or serve in any ministry as long as it does not demand too much sacrifice or effort. They are willing to separate from ungodliness and contend for the faith as long as it does not cost them the loss of friends. Caleb and Joshua were willing to honor God though they were outnumbered. They hold to God’s promises and give a faithful report against millions and even to the point of being stoned to death (Numbers 14:10).
If you were part of Israel and were listening to the report of the spies, what would your reaction be? How would you look at the Promised Land after hearing the report of the spies. Numbers 13 relates for us two different ways of looking at the Promised Land.
I. The first way of looking at the Promised Land is the way of ten of the spies. These ten looked at the land and came to the conclusion it could not be conquered. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it” (Num 13:32). The land of Canaan was unusually fertile and was fought over by those tribes and nations looking for a homeland or a better homeland; so its ownership was constantly being contested. Also, the land of Canaan stood at the crossroads of Asia and Africa. Invading armies and traders from both continents passed through the land and also contested its ownership.
They also said “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are” (Num 13:31). The Canaanites were so big and so strong that next to them they felt like little bugs, they felt like grasshoppers next to giants (Num 13:33). Imagine this! For two years the Israelites had been traveling to reach the Promised Land. They had faced enemies, drought, hunger and they had spent long hours traveling through the wilderness. Their goal was the land of Canaan. Finally they were at its border. The spies went into the land. They found grapes of such enormous clusters they had to be carried on a pole by two men.
The Promised Land was even better than they had dreamed it would be. These spies did not have the eye or faith.
II. The second way of looking at the Promised Land was the way of Joshua and Caleb. They simply said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Num 13:30). These two did have the eye of faith. Ten of the twelve spies sent out by Moses to scout the Promise Land also spoke disheartening words at the critical hour; they spread gloomy tidings about the colossal power of the native people; they frightened the Israelites with their talk of giants and grasshoppers.
The real tragedy here is that majority of the spies were blind to the power of God. They forgot the miracles God had done. They did not view the Promised Land through the eye of faith. So they became scared and pessimistic and discouraged.
Joshua and Caleb, on the other hand, were optimists; they were full of courage. What makes some people courageous and others cowardly? Courage has to do with what we see. The ten spies saw the same thing with their physical eyes. The inhabitants of Canaan were heavily armed giants.
Joshua and Caleb saw them too, but they saw more; with their spiritual eyes they saw God. And that gave them courage. By looking at Canaan through the eye of faith they saw a land that their covenant God would give them just as He promised. With God they knew that nothing was impossible.
Like Israel it seems that there are impossible tasks in front of us some times. We have been called to possess and claim the earth in Christ’s name. What a big job! If we look at this challenge without the eye of faith, the world looks scary and our mission seems like an impossible venture.
We are called upon to bring the Gospel to our neighbors and communities. It is so easy to say, “It is impossible to do this Lord. There are so few of us and so many of them. Where will we get the money and the missionaries from?”
Faith says all things are possible with God. When we look at our seemingly impossible tasks with the eye of faith then the impossible become possible. The Bible says that all things and all people will someday bow down before God and His Christ – even giants and fortified cities.
I want you to notice what happens when God’s people take their eyes away from God and His power. Turning a blind eye to God results in unhappiness. For even happiness and security is a matter of what one sees.
The first three verses of Numbers 14 tells us what happens. The people did not look at the fortified cities and giants with the eye of faith. So they became scared and unhappy and actually wanted to go back to the slavery of Egypt. Their lack of faith made them so unhappy that they wept. They wept for the entire night. Without faith life becomes scary, threatening, frightening, and discouraging.
For a number of years sociologists have been conducting tests to determine what makes people happy. They have finally concluded what we Christians have known since the days of Christ. We know that jobs, living conditions, sexual satisfaction, wealth, etc. have little to do with happiness. Professor Jonathan Freedman of Yale University concluded his study vaguely with this statement, “Happiness is in the head, not the wallet.” Happiness depends upon how one looks at things. Happiness depends upon the eye of faith.
Being a Christian doesn’t automatically bring happiness. Because you know as well as I do that there are many unhappy Christians. Yet, deep down within their hearts, Christians know the secret to happiness – a quiet trust and faith in Christ as Savior and Lord.
We have a choice. We can look at life, we can live life, with faith in the power of God and His Christ, or we can look at life and can live life without faith in the power of God. I urge you, like Joshua and Caleb, to live by faith. The first step on this road toward faith is to receive the free gift of forgiveness of your sins. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”