________________________________________VISION AND PURPOSE

VISION OF FAITHCONNECT

The vision of FaithConnect is to replicate the ministry of Jesus Christ in character and purpose, guided by the Holy Spirit via the Word of God and the ascension gift ministries of Ephesians 4.  Since making disciples is of primary importance, His last command becomes FaithConnect’s first concern.

“Then Jesus came and spoke to them saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you to; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  MATTHEW 28:18-20

 The method of pursuing this New Testament reality hinges on two primary thrusts:

  • True fellowship between gift ministries, which is simply described as a fellowship of leadership.
  • An unction and power to go forth, referred to as a missions movement.

Fulfilling God’s call is being worked out in these two major areas, therefore making FaithConnect a:

“Fellowship of Leaders and Missions Generator” 

THE GENESIS OF FAITHCONNECT

Bob Engelhardt, the apostolic leader of FaithConnect founded the network after over twenty years of building a thriving church and multi-faceted ministry and sending out several leaders to serve in the Body of Christ. His success in developing Catskill Mountain Christian Center has gained him wide notoriety as a wise master builder and a depth of experience in the ‘trenches’ of church leadership. As a beneficiary of apostolic covering in his own ministry, he saw the need for the fathering gift to be activated to help ministries to grow and be healthy. Recognized and endorsed by senior apostles, Engelhardt founded FaithConnect to apostolically cover his own church plants and ministers but also to provide covering and accountability for other ministers with like spirit.

Engelhardt writes of his passion for the church to thrive:

On the Rock and In the Light


“He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He” Deuteronomy 32:4

"I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." John 8:12

About six or seven years into my walk with the Lord I was praying in the Spirit one night and had a vision. As it began I was, in my mind’s eye, in the midst of a vast dense jungle, seemingly endless thousands of acres surrounding me with no way out. It was very dark but comfortable to my flesh although I was essentially stuck there. I looked around and noticed that I stood in a small clearing and there was, shining through the jungle canopy above, a single beam of light coming down and illuminating a spot on the jungle floor. I then saw a large rock exactly under where the sunbeam fell and knew God wanted me on the rock and in the light (takes a real prophet to figure that one out) so I climbed up on the rock. The word of the Lord spoken in my heart was, “No matter what, stay on the rock and in the light.”

Soon it became uncomfortable - from the heat coming up from the rock to its hardness that hurt my body, the blazing sun on my head felt unbearable and the bright light hurt my eyes. But there was no relief and the word was unbending, “stay on the rock and in the light.” In the video tape of my vision time passed and the discomfort increased. My skin began to crack, my face swelled, my eyes were burning. I became hotter and hotter as the cracks were weeping fluid from inside my body. Suddenly as I looked out to the perimeter of the clearing I could see the glowing eyes of nocturnal animals watching from the jungle and waiting. I was not sure if they were just curious or waiting to attack but I knew they couldn’t touch me as long as I was on the rock and in the light.

I stayed there a long, long time; too long. The heat increased and increased and I just stayed and stayed, God’s word never wavering, “stay on the rock and in the light.” All of a sudden when it seemed I couldn’t take it another second… POOF! The heat of my flesh reached flash point and instantly I was engulfed in flames. In sheer panic I began running around the clearing slapping at the fire, leaping and frantic. After only a few seconds I realized the fire didn’t hurt in the least but the energy I felt from it was pure passion for God!

Now I was leaping and whirling and laughing and praising God. Still engulfed in flames I saw that as I brushed against the undergrowth the fire lit the foliage and it began to burn and soon the entire jungle was on fire all around me. I was very much surprised that, this jungle I thought was thousands of miles deep was only about twenty yards wide and in an instant it burned down and I was standing in a wide open place.

I could see people gathered here and there and in my frenetic, on-fire state I began running to different people and embracing them and then going to someone else and doing the same. And after I embraced each person he/she caught on fire too and soon the fire spread to all the groups and all the people.

This is platform for FaithConnect. A vision to see the Church on fire!

 

PURPOSE OF FAITHCONNECT 

ESTABLISHING AND STRENGTHENING - The New Testament apostolic model as revealed throughout the book of Acts shows two primary activities, that of establishing local churches and strengthening those in existence.

It being the desire of FaithConnect to adhere to this pattern, leaders within FaithConnect not only labor faithfully in their locality but see other leaders and localities as equally important in God’s plan to build His Church.  The network becomes a melting pot of strategy, vision, methods, teaching, training and programs.  The validity of these are not predicated on the size or fame of a man’s ministry but rather on his personal character, his commitment to Jesus and others, and on his sphere of anointing and calling.

Within this network vision colleagues are encouraged to help and encourage each other.  This happens as Jesus makes clear His total purpose, thus enabling leaders to reach out beyond personal borders.  When this happens, the spirit of price and competition which plagues so many cannot find place.  In this, the terms “fellowship” and “relationship” become realities and not just teachings.

The establishing and strengthening of local churches can then be identified and accomplished through three basic vehicles.  

  • Church to church relationships – These friendships develop as the draw of God’s Spirit bonds workers together to share their hearts and interests.
  •   Itinerant Ministry – (Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists and Pastor-Teachers with traveling ministries). Many churches have correct teaching, but no valid model of the doctrine.  Others have closed themselves down to trans-local servant ministries because of past abuses from those with self-serving motivations.
  •  Training events – Men’s Conferences, Elders and Wives Retreats, International Conferences, Missions Training and Women’s Conferences are all designed to call like-minded leaders and churches together.  All events are done to promote the local church rather than promote a man or a project.

 

DEVELOPING A NETWORK

While there is no Biblical debate that the local church was and is the vehicle to disciple believers and evangelize the nations, it must be understood that the first century apostles did not view any particular church as being complete in and of itself.  It must also be understood that the same principles governing body life in the local church are applicable to churches themselves; just as members of the local church are dependent on each other, so individual churches cannot function independently of others.

Consideration should be given to several New Testament texts to illustrate this, especially that certain epistles were considered general in content and received by numerous churches and localities.  The book of Galatians was written to “churches” rather than a single congregation.  The sending and receiving of various persons from church to church further illustrates that the local church was not self-sufficient and no attitude to that effect existed.

                This is further supported:

                “When one of you says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ aren’t you acting like worldly people?”                         I CORINTHIANS 3:4

The scriptures show that attitudes of independence were counterproductive to the work of the church.  As the vision of FaithConnect is to be a Fellowship of Leadership and a Missions Movement it is essential that all learn to walk together in tangible, meaningful ways with each joint supplying strength.  Without the five-fold gifts functioning, no church can fully mature, equip or send out believers.  Apostles and prophets are just as necessary as pastors and teachers, yet different.  While no church must have all in residence, certainly every church should have them  available.

Therefore, any network of churches must be ble to relate to true apostlic and prophetic gifts in the same manner that an individual believer relates to pastoral ministry.  Not to do so leaves the local church handicapped and the body becomes unbalanced.

 

OVERVIEW OF GOVERNMENT

PROVIDING A COVERING

God’s Word clearly teaches submission to authority and biblical submission provides for the one in submission a secure “covering” under which he will know true freedom and experience maximum productivity and fruitfulness.

Since anyone in authority must be under authority, FaithConnect provides both a spiritual and governmental covering.  This covering becomes established as members recognize and develop in relationship, taking advantage of the covering gift.

Established relationships are vital in maintaining the covering within FaithConnect, because the spiritual servant leaders, their ministries, and congregations are of great importance.  The organizational structure of FaithConnect exists purely to assist them in effectively carrying out their vision.  The Five-Fold ministers of this network view themselves as implementers of spiritual restoration within the church.  Again established relationships are vital to accomplish that.  Together, the ministers are toiling together as “wall builders.”  They realize that it is essential to know who is next to, over and under them in the process.  This brings a well rounded vision and clarity concerning issues of government, authority,  submission, guidance and counsel.

A COVERING IS NOT “CLOSED”

FaithConnect has no intention of being a separated or isolated group within the Body of Christ.  This is not an exclusive or elitist group within this present day move of God.  no one in the body should function apart from a covering, and that covering cannot exist independently of other coverings and ministries.  In order to be balanced and effective, apostolic leadership must know what is happening in the local church as well as what the Holy Spirit is saying beyond.

To maintain this needed balance, the overseeing apostle is continually building relationships with apostolic leaders in other streams of ministry.