What does it mean to be a faithful church member? Our churches are filled with members and attenders, but what distinguishes a "faithful" church member? In his book, I Am A Church Member, Thom Rainer provides 6 characteristics that describe this person:
1. A faithful church member is a unifying member.
2. A faithful church member will not let the church be about his/her preferences or desires.
3. A faithful church member will pray for the leaders of the church.
4. A faithful church member will lead their family to be healthy church members.
5. A faithful church member will be a functioning church member.
6. A faithful church member will treasure church membership as a gift.
While all of these characteristics are important, I want to pull out one - #5 "a functioning church member."
When I think of a functioning church member I think of a "committed" church member. Unfortunately as I look across the landscape of the church today, I see a lack of commitment. Maybe you're thinking, "well, I attend church every Sunday morning." That's great, but there's much more to being a church member than just showing up on Sunday morning. A "functioning, faithful, and committed" church member is committed in at least 3 specific areas of the church–stewardship, worship, and service!
A faithful church member is committed to financial stewardship. This person regularly supports the the ministry and work of the Lord through their tithes and offerings. The Bible is clear in Malachi 3:10 that we are to "bring the whole tithe into the storehouse." This isn't an outdated, Old Testament, principle. It is the responsibility of every church member to support the ministry and work of the Lord through his or her local church body.
A faithful church member is committed to worship. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us to "not forsake the assembling of ourselves together." I believe this speaks to the regular practice of corporate worship. As Christian American's we should never neglect this opportunity. Many people in our world do not enjoy this freedom. Remember this about worship - corporate worship is a rehearsal for heaven! That's right! When we gather together on Sunday morning we are just "warming up" for eternity! Don't neglect this privilege!
A faithful church member is committed to service in the body. In Ephesians 4:12 Paul reminds us that pastors had been called to "equip the saints for the work of ministry." This means my job as pastor, and the job of our staff, is to prepare and equip you, the body, for service and ministry to the Lord. Let me ask you - where are you serving? Are you serving?
Do you know why the Dead Sea is called the "Dead Sea?" It's because water flows into this historical body of water, but never flows out. As a result of the gathering of this water, the Dead Sea is the saltiest body of water in the world, with 33.7% salinity. Because of this high level of salt, no fish or aquatic plants exists in the Dead Sea. Don't be a "Dead Sea church member!" Let the Living Water of Christ flow through you as you faithfully serve the Lord.
I hope we will all take a few minutes to examine our hearts. Will you join me and ask yourself - "Am I a faithful church member?" Not just a church member, but "faithful" church member!
Do you support the ministry of the church through your tithes and offering? If not, begin today by giving through the means your church has made available.
Do you regularly attend corporate worship with our church family at Temple? If not, make a commitment to be present this Sunday! Don't wait, jump in now!
Do you serve anywhere in the body at Temple? If not, contact a staff member about opportunities to serve. We would be happy to connect you to a ministry where we know the Lord could use you!
If we can't answer "yes" to these questions, I hope we'll take a minute to examine our hearts and motives. Let's do all we can to be faithful church members for the glory of God!