“The downside to thinking about faith only as noun is that it can be viewed as a commodity one possesses. It becomes a static “thing” that, once acquired, is placed, even displayed in a prominent place in one’s life, often never to be touched again. Noun-faith assumptions reveal themselves when people are asked about their faith and they say that they “accepted Jesus in the 4th grade,” or that that they’re qualified to teach Sunday school because they’ve “been a Christian for ten years.”
I think he nails some of the shortcomings of just looking at faith as a noun.
“BUT If we think of faith as a verb, “Faith is also a verb, and as a verb is more associated with spiritual formation. It expresses believing and trusting in someone/something (John 3:16); is actively worked out (Philippians 2:12); is pursued (1 Timothy 6:11); and can be maturing (Hebrews 6:1).
At its very elemental level, faith as a verb is not a just Christian thing, it’s a human thing that people act upon. 1 Faith is the way human beings make sense of their world. People make meaning in order to connect and hold together the barrage of information they are continually learning and experiencing.”
So what are some of the ramifications of teaching and training our students to faith? Here are a few:
- Faith-ing is ACTIVE. The church will need to let them USE their faith instead of just be spectators. This means leadership enabling and equipping and sending.
- Faith-ing is DANGEROUS. If we truly make room for students to live out their faith, they will begin to share what they have with others, they will want to rech out the the disenfranchised, they will want to conquer poverty and distribute justice.
- Faith-ing is RISKY. This means the role of the the minister becomes more of equipping “his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Eph 4:12) Which means less time for us to be in the spotlight and more time for others to contribute their gifts to the body. The church will need to shift paradigms from minister as subcontracted laborer to minister as equipper/coach/mentor.