Love Your Church
My four year old daughter declared she was ready to ride her bike on two wheels. I took the nuts off the bolts to remove her training wheels, got her into position, and ran with her as she peddled down the driveway. One small nut held her training wheels on. A seemingly insignificant piece of metal, but it was her lifeline until now.
That nut is like every member of the church. No, not insignificant, rather, an integral part of the whole. In order to use her bike she needed that nut in place. She needed it to function so that she could ride. As those who love and follow Christ, we are reminded that our participation in our local body of believers is essential for our own spiritual growth and for our local church to fulfill it's purpose in bringing God's kingdom into the world.
In “Love Your Church: 8 Great Things About Being A Church Member” by Tony Merida, he shares his love and passion for the church by teaching us eight key responsibilities of every church member. His message for us carries gentle rebuke laced with eager hope, as he instructs us on who the church is and our roles inside it.
He highlights each responsibility in one chapter with action steps at the end and opportunity for deeper study in the discussion guide.
So, what are these eight great things?
Belonging. The local church is a community of believers who, “gather for worship and scatter for witness.” Joined together as a family unit we are unified together because of our unity in Christ. It’s a privilege to be a part of this community.
Welcoming. Just as we have been welcomed by Christ into God’s family, in turn, we welcome others, keeping our eyes peeled for our own prejudices and discrimination of others. There’s no place for partiality in God’s kingdom, and “our proper response to the grace shown toward us in Christ is the extension of grace to others.”
Gathering. Coming together to worship is an essential part of our discipleship; it also plants seeds of anticipation in us of future worship together with all the saints. Our present sanctification and our future glory are represented in our services. We’re encouraged to hold these times highly in our homes and create special traditions around it.
Caring. Our communities miss out when we withhold love and care from each other. A dangerous cause of this can be our pride, if we’re refusing to serve. What can you do today to do something good for others.
Serving. “Followers of Christ are not spectators in the church, but servants in the church.” There have been times we’ve felt tired and weary from serving, but scripture reminds us that we are living sacrifices to be poured out for him, equipped by the Spirit with gifts to build others up, and as the end draws near we want to be found faithfully contributing to his kingdom work.
Honoring. We do this by following the humble shepherds who lead us, by acting with respect and love, committing them to prayer and being a joy to them.
Witnessing. He writes, “I wouldn’t label my local context as hostile to the gospel but rather as being hardened to the gospel and happy without the gospel.” This is a significant perspective as we seek to reach out with our words and actions. We remember that a spirit of fear will prevent us from being a faithful witness, so we fix our eyes on the glory of Jesus and our living hope as we share.
Sending. The great commission calls us to make disciples of all nations. Missional churches are mindful of the needs of others, both near and far. In the book of Acts we see churches sending out believers to spread the good news and disciple the new church plants. May we continue to be kingdom focused in our endeavors.
“Exhausted Christians need to be reminded of the inexhaustible riches of Christ, and they need to be reminded of how significant their labors in his church are.”
During the challenge of a pandemic, corporate worship and connecting with believers has become an exercise in creativity as we seek to practice living out community in the midst of public health guidelines. We pray for a speedy return to gather safely, and while we wait, the perseverance and perspective to bless and encourage our communities.
# of pages: 160
My Rating: 5 stars
*A big thanks to The Good Book Company for the complimentary copy of this book and the opportunity to post an honest review.