What is a true step of faith?

BY: J.B. Tanwell

A man and a woman holding coffee cups as they have a conversation or hanging bridge above water

Taking a step of faith is a phrase you hear in multiple contexts. Many of them have little or nothing to do with faith in the spiritual sense.

If you use the MissionHub app or read our blog you know we talk a lot about steps of faith. So it is worth being really clear about what we think a true step of faith is, and just as crucially, what it is not.

In a previous blog we tackled a question we are often asked: Does taking a step of faith have to be scary?

So in this post we want to show you what a step of faith truly is for a MissionHub user, or for anyone who wants to trust God in trying to bring Jesus to the center of a relationship.


Taking a step of faith is not… 


     1. A display of courage

The Apostle Peter is probably my favorite of Jesus’ disciples — if I am allowed to have a favorite. I love him because he is so human, by which I mean we see him fail more than once.

On the one hand Peter desperately wants to be a good disciple of Jesus. But he is prone to very public displays of zeal which set the scene for memorable slip-ups. When he pledges his loyalty to Jesus, I imagine him puffing out his chest, raising his voice and looking around to see how the other disciples are responding. Ultimately Peter had to go through a painful process of being humbled before Jesus called him to lead the early church.

The steps of faith you choose to accept or create in MissionHub can be seen by others in your Community. But this is so they can track with you on your journey and celebrate when God works through your faithfulness. This is not like one of those exercise apps where part of the value appears to be impressing other people with your efforts.

Which brings us to the second thing a step of faith is not.

     2. A test of your spiritual fitness

The Christian life is about growing more and more as effective ambassadors for Jesus. But as believers we are prone to focusing on activities we can quantify easily as measures of our devotion to him.

Am I reading enough Scripture? How much money am I giving? Do I devote enough to prayer each day? These are all good disciplines to develop, but Jesus himself was very suspicious of the underlying motives of people who treated these as tests of their spiritual fitness.

So beware of creating or accepting steps of faith in MissionHub as a way of showing your muscle as a Christian.

And that brings us to the third thing a step of faith is not.

     3. An extreme sport for Christians

But surely the greater the step of faith you take the more likely you are to grow. Testing whether you really trust God when it matters most is our goal, right? Well, yes and no.

Does God want us to trust him more completely as each day comes? Absolutely. And does that mean trusting him with the things that are most precious to us, like how other people think of us? Again, yes.

But taking steps of faith is not spiritual skydiving, even if it sometimes feels that way.

MissionHub suggests steps of all shapes and sizes because people are unique. The same can be said of our friendships with people at different stages of a spiritual journey. That is why the people behind MissionHub work hard to give you practical examples of what those steps might look like in practice.

You may know someone who shared the gospel with a hardcore atheist last week. Is that a greater step of faith than your decision to invite someone over for coffee? No, because this is not a competition.

God asks each of us only to listen to him, be available to him, and trust him with whatever step he invites us to take. So take one step of faith, then another, then another, and watch what God does.

The people in your life are meant to be more impressed by Jesus than by you.

But taking a true step of faith is…


In many ways you took the ultimate true step of faith on the day you became a Christian. You handed the keys to your life over to a God you cannot yet see with your physical eyes.

Based on some unique combination of hearing the gospel and experiencing God, you chose to trust him without knowing what might happen next. That is massive.

If you have already taken the big step of faith, how should we think about the decisions that follow? What should our perspective be about trusting God as we try to make him known to the people in our lives? What is a step of faith?

     1. A moment to trust God

Your Father in heaven knows you better than anyone else ever can. He knows what inspires you, what scares you, and what makes you feel completely overwhelmed. And he understands how to use you most effectively as he goes about the work of calling other people into relationship with himself.

What this might look like in practice:

Choose a step of faith you want to take. Then take a moment to pray that you will treat this step as a chance to trust that God has a plan and you are an essential part of it. Remind yourself that you cannot get in the way of what he is going to do. 

        2. A choice between pride and humility

Fearing how people you know will respond when you start talking openly about your faith is very natural and totally valid. Anyone who says there is nothing to fear or be anxious about when sharing your faith is either misleading you or has not done it recently.

I have been in conversations where the connection between myself and the other person took a turn for the worse when I stepped out in faith to share my faith story. Does that mean I chose the wrong step of faith, or perhaps the wrong moment to take it? Not necessarily.

In that moment I believed the guy I was speaking to deserved to know who I really was, even if he was not sure how to respond when he found out.

In my life there have been big decisions I needed to trust God about — my marriage, parenthood, my career. But on a day-to-day level, choosing to let people see the real me, my faith included, and living with the consequences, feels like a serious gamble. This is the choice we all face as we try to follow Jesus.

What this might look like in practice:

Think about a step of faith you want to take. Now ask yourself, “If I avoid or delay taking this step, will it protect my pride but cause me to miss out on God’s best for me?” 

     3. Your next step on a walk with God

MissionHub is not a silver bullet that can single-handedly turn you into a bold ambassador for Jesus. It is just a simple tool that I and many others find useful as we try to form the habit of making ourselves available to be used by God.

Our lives as Christians are usually full of highs and lows. For every moment in which we sense God is actively involved, there are others when it feels like we have mislaid our spiritual GPS.

What surprises me about following Jesus is that I have never taken a true step of faith that I later regretted.

Some conversations that I initiated about Jesus felt frustrating. Some people misunderstood my intentions in asking them what they believed.

But I never felt like God invited me to jump without also being there to catch me. Every time I trusted God with something or  someone who really mattered to me, I felt closer to him afterward.

What this might look like in practice:

Our hope is that taking steps of faith becomes a normal part of walking with Jesus. Like putting one foot in front of the other. We think we are more likely to achieve that as we support one another. Who can you ask to support you in taking your next step of faith?

Could you create a MissionHub Community with that person?

Learn more about why every person matters and every step of faith counts.

Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

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J.B. Tanwell lives in Europe where he confuses the locals with words he picked up while living in the southern states of the USA. He’s passionate about helping Christians talk honestly about what following Jesus involves.