Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
Last Wednesday night, in our book study on "I Am a Church Member" by Thom Rainer, we started talking about what it means to be an engaged and functioning church member. We started our study here in an effort to consider how our church can be healthier and how we might make more of a difference in the community. It was a great conversation, and for many it provided a shift in our thinking. Too often, people view the church as yet one more club to join, one more organization to be a part of, one more joyless thing to do. Sadly, the great American sin of entitlement has crept in and infiltrated the church. It has cheapened what it means to be part of the church. We no longer view church membership as an honor or joy. No doubt this grieves the heart of God. At an alarming rate, churches are in decline. Fringe and casual church goers are slipping further away from active engagement. Too many people view church membership as simply having a name on a roster; and sadly this is enough to appease their conscience. More and more people think, “If the church doesn’t meet my need or tell me what I want to hear, than I’m not going to waste my time.” The general premise of the author is that far too many people see the church from the lens of a “you exist to serve me” organization. They ask questions like… what are the perks? What is benefit? What is the church going to do for me? How will it entertain me?
God did not give us local churches to become country clubs where membership means we have privileges and perks. Yes, of course, the primary purpose of the church is to put us in the Gospel Reception spot. It is where God delivers, unequivocally and clearly, His grace through the Word and sacraments. But, the second and nearly as important purpose of the church, is to activate His people. Our Sunday more gatherings serve as our base of operations, where our Mighty King preps and equips us before He pushes us out into the world to bring Jesus where we live, work, and play. God has placed us in churches to serve, to care for others, to pray for leaders, to learn, to teach, to give. A Biblical understanding of the church is to see that we exist for the good of others, not the other way around! The beautiful picture of the Church outlined by scripture, is that the we are created to proclaim the truths of God and eagerly look for ways to care for and serve others. The church is a place of doing; it is where each one of us, uniquely designed and equipped, uses our God-given talents and abilities in service to Him and the growth of His Kingdom.
As we gear up for the fall, I do hope to see you all back in church. And with the return of our membership, I pray we find a renewed desire to make King of Kings a welcoming place of inspiration and community. I hope that we’ll ask our families to come with us. I hope that we will invite old friends and new neighbors to join us. I hope and pray that we will see new families and faces from our preschool or community in our pews. Our church is healthier and better when all our people are together—growing and learning, praying and playing. After all, the church is God’s only plan to reach the world!
Pastor Steve Vera