Core Values: Ministry Principles of Living Faith Tampa


At Living Faith Tampa, we have principles from God’s Word that help us make right decisions in our areas of service and ministry.   All of our services and ministries should adhere to these simple yet powerful principles.  Doing so will keep us focused.   Staying focused as we grow and serve is of great importance for us as individuals as well as corporately as a church.  Many people and churches have lost sight of the mission God has given to them.  We hope to avoid this - these principles will help.  Not only will our principles help us to stay focused on making disciples, they will help us to be accountable, continue praying, studying our Bibles, be humble, and stay unified.  That sounds like a church God would bless, doesn’t it?

The principles are not designed to limit you; rather, they should enable you.  We have been given a mission to make disciples, plant churches and send out missionaries. Because of this, training up leaders to “go” is a big focus at LFT.   As leaders develop, they need to be able to minister without having to get every little decision checked off by a pastor or leader.  Basically, we want your ministry to be run by principles, not run by some person’s approval.  There will always be things that should be discussed with a leader or pastor. We are always here to help and are not trying to discourage proper and frequent communication.  However, most decisions can and should be made by ministry leaders based on our 10 guiding principles.

As you move forward in your faith and service, your leadership will expand within the church, and these principles will become more “real” to you.  With continued application they will become second nature as you learn to discern properly using the principles of the Word of God to make decisions (Heb. 5:14)

The other thing these principles do for us is to keep us “within bounds”.  The church has the responsibility to keep its priorities right, its ministers humble and selfless, and its doctrine pure.  Our principles will also help protect us from some of the common pitfalls of leadership as we all submit to the boundaries they provide.  They will also help protect the church body from “wolves in sheep’s clothing” that would sneak in for their own selfish ambitions.

As you read through and familiarize yourself with these principles, consider what Living Faith Tampa will look like as these principles are lived out in all our services and ministries.




When Jesus saw that the religious leaders had made the synagogue into something other than a house of prayer, he overthrew their tables and ran them out! (Matt. 21) The Bible’s teaching on corporate prayer is clear. God’s expects us to pray in unity for the mission he has given us. He then answers prayer, moving us along in his power and provision. We are wonderfully dependent on God for all we have done, are doing, and will do. As we continue to move forward, we must have God’s hand of blessing upon us, or we labor in vain (Psalm 127). That is one reason why LFT will always prioritize corporate prayer. Our corporate prayer service is the most important service of the week. This says a lot. Some practical examples of this principle include:

  • LFT members pray when they meet together
  • We make corporate prayer ministry a priority in everything we do
  • We will keep an attitude/awareness of desperate dependence on God for all that we do




When Jesus called a few fishermen along the shore of the Sea of Galilee to follow him, he gave them this promise: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). We believe that Jesus is still calling his modern-day disciples to do the same thing. In fact, if you listen to Jesus’ words carefully, you are not really following Jesus if you are not fishing for men. That is what a true follower of Jesus does. Some Christians and churches have given up on this simple command from Jesus, choosing instead to take the easier and “quicker results” method of attractional ministry. Many Christians want to pass on their responsibility to share the gospel and lead people to Christ – choosing rather to invite their lost friends, neighbors and family members to church; expecting the pastor to do the work of evangelism for them. Some say that evangelism doesn’t really “work”. We believe that every Christian has a responsibility to share their faith, not because it works, but because it is what Jesus said to do. The issue is obedience. We challenge our members to regularly share their faith, not so we can increase our church attendance, but because it is what Jesus told us to do.




God has made a way for us to have a right relationship with him through Jesus Christ (John 1:12, Rom. 5:1).  Once we have a right relationship with him, he begins to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ (Col 3:10).  As we become more Christ-like, we become more focused on the mission of reproducing this in others. (II Tim. 2:2).  The church is all about this cycle of evangelism, spiritual growth, and reproduction.  We see this all throughout scripture, but often point to the “Great Commission" (Matt. 28:18-20) as our co-mission with God.  We have accepted this mission from God as our mission.  We summarize God’s mission for the church into “Making Disciples".  The many varied ministries of LFT are all in some way involved in this all-important mission. In fact, it is what we are all about!  Instead of growing into a great big church, we hope to multiply this ministry by planting churches that will do the same. It is an exciting vision that makes LFT an exciting place to serve and grow.

Like many churches, we are busy.  In fact we are very busy.  A common problem for busy churches is to be so focused on ministry activity that they lose sight of the mission!  We deliberately attempt to avoid this by staying focused on the mission God has given us.  For example, we encourage those in ministry at LFT to regularly review their ministry activities, making sure that they can describe clearly and simply how their activities are part of “making disciples”.  You should be encouraged that we are a church where the time, treasure, and talents you invest will be used by God in furthering his kingdom - not just producing “busyness.”




At LFT we trust in God’s Word as our ultimate authority. We believe that The Holy Spirit will reveal truth to us as we study the Bible (I Cor. 2:10). In today’s culture, many do not seem to believe this. They have made man, not God’s Word their authority. You may wonder, “How has this happened?” Excellent question. For many, the Bible is seen merely as reference material or a set of "best practices" instead of viewing God's Word as the absolute authority. Sometimes good messages are taught from the Bible without any real submission to the authority of the Scriptures themselves. At LFT the Bible, not the pastors or teachers, is the gold standard of truth in all matters of doctrine and practice. Our job is to study it and live it, not to tear it apart with human logic and doubting criticism. The Bible is to change us (Rom 12:2, John 17:17, I Thes. 2:12-13), we are not to change it (Rev. 22:18-19, I Cor. 1:19-2:5). Feel free to bring whatever Bible translation or paraphrase you want to LFT, and do not worry about what anyone else is reading (No “Bible Version Police” please), but in order to prevent confusion and to maintain a firm stance on the historical “faith position” in God’s Word, we will teach from the incomparable King James Version in English.

  • LFT members use the KJV (English) or Reina Valera (Spanish) translations for all teaching ministries. These are Textus Receptus based Scripture. We are happy to answer any questions you have about our position on the Bible version we use, but we do not believe it is profitable to argue or dispute this issue with anyone.
  • You may not agree with our position (and that is certainly your choice) but that does not mean you are not welcome at our church; nor will we prohibit you from using whatever version of the Bible you choose. However, all teaching at Living Faith Tampa will be from the King James Version.




Every believer in Jesus Christ needs their brothers and sisters in Christ to hold them accountable to the Word of God. All of us tend to be unfaithful in some area of our lives.  We are spiritual beings and the Bible is our spiritual nourishment and the key to our spiritual growth (I Pet. 2:2). For this reason, we are serious about studying it (we would anyway because we are commanded to study it - II Tim. 2:15).  We want to stay accountable in the Word (Col. 3:16, I Thes. 5:11).  Accountability in the Word does not mean I nag others about how many chapters in the Bible they read that week, but rather, that I spend regular time in God's Word with my brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. This will be wonderfully edifying to you and to others (I Cor. 14:31).  This may happen through preparing a lesson for our children's ministry, studying your discipleship material as a disciple or as a discipler, or being involved in a Bible study group.  If reading and studying God's Word is new to you, jump in!  Regular Bible study with your brothers and sisters in Christ is a life-changing exercise that you will learn to cherish.  If this is not new to you, be grateful you have others to study and grow with!  They will be grateful for you as well! Picture a church where all members are involved in Bible study with each other.  Now picture the stereotypical cultural church where many members do not regularly study the Word.  Which church do you think is approved unto God?

II Tim. 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

  • If you have not yet been discipled in God's Word, get signed up to do so now! It will be a great way to get started in being accountable in the Word!




Have you ever heard this said in a church before?

I do not know why they do it that way, I think they should…”

This is a description of how “church” works in a lot of places. The church staff is expected to do all the work of the ministry while the congregants all get to show up and act as critics.  The problem with this model is that it is unbiblical (and little real work will ever get done).  The Bible tells us

I Corinthians 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular 

And also in verse 18 of the same chapter, “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him”.

Considering that God has made us to be, and calls us to be, members of his body (local church), this allows us to have a right perspective of how the church should operate.  Just like our physical bodies must have all its members (body parts) functioning as they are designed to function in order for the body to work right, the local church must have all its members functioning as they are gifted to function. Every believer is gifted to profit the rest of the body.

This means that you have been gifted by God (I Cor. 12:7) and placed in this local church (I Cor. 12:18) in order for you to serve God and be a part of furthering His kingdom through service to the church (I Cor. 12:7).  We greatly encourage this at Living Faith.  This principle is one way we help keep a biblical perspective on the way the local church should function.  You will find great fulfillment in joining us by using the gifts God has given you.  You are not only invited to jump in and get busy, but we say that you are Biblically instructed to do so.  This will always be challenging for you, but it will always be good.

We function in teams, so after prayerfully considering how God has gifted you, seek out the team leader in that area to see how you can get started in the ministry of LFT.  Be patient though. Although you are gifted, nobody gets to start out as a team leader.  It may take some time for you to get used to the way the team works.  At LFT, there is no "they" or "them"; only "us" and "we". We are not a church that separates membership and "staff". All of our leaders will encourage and train other members to do what they are doing.




Leadership is a good and necessary thing that God established for the benefit of the church (Eph. 4:11-13).  Like all churches, we have leaders and are continually training up new ones.  Leadership for a follower of Jesus Christ doesn’t mean that you get to boss everybody else around, but rather that you serve others (Matt. 20:26).  The apostle Paul had this attitude (Phil. 2:17); so did Peter (I Pet. 5:3).  Jesus did too, for that matter (Matt. 20:28).  So we are going to do the same.  Those who seek leadership in the church seek a good thing (I Tim. 3:1), but be ready to serve, not be served.  Moving forward in leadership requires dying to self and thinking of others first.  The further you move up in leadership, the more selflessness will be required.   Eventually, you will never get your way!  Do not be afraid of selfless leadership. Rather, be afraid of a limiting selfishness.




Living Faith is committed to training leaders.  We will do this through the structure of our ministry teams.  All our teams have been charged with training leaders.  Everyone should work to be a mentor, and everybody should have a mentor as well.  This is modeled in the Bible by Paul and Timothy’s relationship.  We say we should all have a “Paul” as well as a “Timothy”.

Training leaders is not just one more activity to add to a list of ministry activities, rather we train as the team serves.  As the training takes place, the work of the ministry is getting done; as the work of the ministry is getting done, training is taking place.  This is a wonderful process of replacing yourself in leadership. All of our leaders should constantly be working to replace themselves. This can be intimidating for those who are insecure or "power hungry". That mindset is not the mindset of Christ (Phil. 2:1-5, John 16:7).

One main motivation for training leaders is that we believe God has called us to plant churches and send out missionaries.  Considering that some of us will be sent out, who will train them up to lead when they go? And who will take their place here when they leave?   The answer is that we will train up “Timothys” and be trained by our “Pauls” so that whether we are sent, or take the place of one who goes, we are ready with sufficient leadership in place.  We hope one of those leaders will be you.




Unity within the body of Christ is a beautiful thing (Ps. 133:1) that originates from our one Lord (Eph. 4:1-10).  It brings anointing (Ps. 133:2), strength (Matt. 12:25, Ecc. 4:12), and an empowered witness to our church (John 17:21).  Unity should be the norm for mature believers who seek to have the “mind of Christ” as described in Philippians 2:1-8.

Unity is also under attack.  You do not have to look too far to see examples of this.  Churches are splitting or dividing over arguments all the time (I Cor. 1:10-11). Many churches are powerlessly struggling because of the division within the body (I Cor. 11:18-30).  The enemy causes division through prideful contentions that are rooted in selfish human carnality (Prov. 13:10).  To prevent this, we must actively protect the unity we have in Christ.

Deliberately protecting unity means we do not gossip or spread rumors.  We must communicate expectation, issues, needs, etc., clearly, frequently, and Biblically.  In the absence of good communication there is a danger of divisive speculation.    Good communication is the key to staying on the same page together in ministry.

As a rule we only communicate problem issues up the leadership chain.  The only reasons we would communicate problem issues “laterally” (to peers, friends, etc.) is when necessary for counsel, biblical accountability, and prayer - and this will only be done in confidence.  Matthew 18:15-17 gives us parameters for how to go to a brother or sister (if you feel you must) when you have been offended.  Division, in attitude or action, must always be addressed.

We take the attitude that “everyone else is better than me”.  Again, Philippians 2:1-10 is our model for taking the wrong, showing forgiveness, and erring on the side of grace. This will keep us Christ-like in our attitudes toward each other and will protect our unity.




The Bible is very clear that God is with us (Matt. 1:23, 28:20) and the devil seeks to destroy us (I Pet. 5:8).

Sometimes we get so focused on what we are doing that we forget the most basic and most important spiritual truths.  The problem with this is that we are in danger of reacting out of discouragement, doubt, or fear if we lose sight of the fact that God is with us!  For example, despite the clear teachings of scripture that we will have sufferings (Rom. 8:18), hardness (II Tim. 2:3), and persecutions (II Tim. 3:12), Christians sometimes seem flabbergasted when things become difficult for them (I Pet. 4:12).  Of course things get difficult - we are part of a spiritual battle for the souls of men!   Yet sometimes we lose sight of the big picture when we cannot see past our situations, don’t we?

The accusing liar, the Devil, is trying to get us to quit.  Never forget that!  Keeping in mind that God is with us (Matt. 1:23, 28:20) and the devil seeks to destroy us (I Pet. 5:8) will help us to move forward in diligent faith to fulfill the task God has given to LFT.  It is of great encouragement to know that "greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (I John. 4:4).

We must always be moving forward in ministry together in light of what the Word of God reveals as the practical spiritual realities around us.