For the past year, I’ve been applying and interviewing for leadership positions in independent schools across the southeast. It’s been…an interesting process. Recently, as part of the application process, the headmaster at a Christian school asked me to submit a written faith statement before going further in the hiring process.
PUTTING WORDS TO IT
Most of my career has been spent serving in Christian organizations. I’ve served as a youth minister for three different churches and taught at two different Christian schools over the past 25 years. I wrote an affirmation of faith when applying for those positions, but somehow, this time it seemed more daunting and formidable. I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps, it’s because faith has been a constant challenge for me or because the past few years have been particularly difficult, but I had a tough time putting it to words.
It took me several hours to write it, and I needed the feedback and support of several colleagues and one of my pastors before I willing to share it. Nevertheless, here it is. I wish I still had the faith statements I wrote 20 years ago. It would be interesting to compare them to my thoughts today.
MY STATEMENT OF FAITH
I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It is by God’s grace through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross that I am saved. This knowledge shapes who I am, what I believe, and how and why I engage with the world.
I am fortunate to have been born into a loving family that reared me in a Christian home. My family attended church regularly, and I grew up in a closely-knit Christian community. If the church doors were open, the Cummings family was present. Our church was my second home.
My mother received a cancer diagnosis while I was still in elementary school, and after several years of treatment and several extended hospital stays, she died when I was twelve years old. I was devastated, but through that darkness, I experienced first-hand the love of Jesus through the hand and feet of his believers. I was a curious young man with a strong sense of fairness, but my family and church community encouraged me to ask difficult questions, inspired me to seek truth and justice, and taught me not to accept easy answers. While my faith journey has always involved a struggle, I continue to trust in God’s love for me and know that I experience His love best when living in a community with my fellow believers.
I believe in God the Father who created the universe, in Jesus his only Son our Lord who died on the cross to set us free, and in the Holy Spirit who lives within believers.
I believe the Bible is the holy, inspired word of God. It serves as the guide for my faith and development as a child of God.
I believe in the church; it is the bride of Christ and is charged to serve as a light to the world.
I believe God has called me to Him and that His sincere desire is for me to act justly, to love mercifully, and to walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:8). The most significant way I can do this is to love Him with my heart, my soul, my mind, and my strength and to love the people in my life as I love myself (Mark 12:30-31).
I believe God wants me to offer my life as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him as my true and proper worship. I should not conform to the pattern of this world but rather be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Then, I will be able to test and know what God’s good, pleasing and perfect will is (Romans 12:1-2).
I believe in regular prayer, study, praise, generosity, and reflection.
I believe I fail daily at living out this incredible calling.
And, I know, God isn’t finished with me yet.