Elder's Perspective Church Health is about Service
By Mike Austin
During the past year, the Congregation at Berean Christian Church was presented a very unique and fulfilling opportunity of studying 2 books together. The first book was titled, THE STORY”, and I am reinforcing and stating the very first page of the book. It tells the Grandest, most compelling story of all time: the story of a true God who loves his children, who established for them a way of salvation and provide a route to eternity. Each story in the 31 chapters revealed the God of grace - the God who speaks; the God who acts; the God who listens; the God whose love for his people culminated in his sacrifice of Jesus, his only Son, to atone for the sins of humanity.
What’s more: this same God is alive today and active today- still listening, still acting, still pouring out his grace on us. His grace extends to our daily foibles, our ups, downs, and in-betweens; our moments of questions and fears; and most important, our response to his call on our lives. He’s the same God who forgave David’s failures and rescued Jonah from the belly of a fish. This same heavenly Father who shepherded the Israelites through the wilderness desires to shepherd us through our wanderings, to help us get past our failures and rescue us for eternity.
“The Story” presented us with two perspectives, “The Lower Story”, our story, was actually many stories of men and women interacting with God in the daily course of life. “The Upper Story” is God’s story, the tale of his great, overarching purpose that fits all the individual stories together. This book exposed us to the truth. It gave us opportunities to change ourselves, how we think and how we view life.
The second book we studied together was titled, “I Am A Church Member.” In the six weeks we studied this book; it gave us a closer look at how we are supposed to be. In a world obsessed with consumerism, as a biblical church member, we are called to a greater commitment. To quote Rick Warren, “Following Jesus involves far more than believing; it involves belonging and only as we belong to Christ’s Body can we become what He intends us to be.”
One of the most intriguing statements in this book to me is that only one-third of a church membership is functioning members. Only one out of three gives abundantly and without hesitation. Think about that. Church membership is about sacrificing, giving and forgiving. What are your gifts and abilities that you can use to best serve our church for the Glory of God?
Think about 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Because you are a part of it, you must be a functioning member, whether an eye, ear, nose, foot or hand. Being a member requires you to give, serve, minister, study and seek to be a blessing to others. Backing up one verse it also states, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” This is tough stuff; it takes a great commitment on our part, not when it’s convenient, but all the time. We all know of someone who hurts, but do we suffer with them? When they rejoice, do we rejoice with them?
Let’s think Birthdays and Christmas for a second. When you receive a gift, naturally you want to respond to the giver. You go out of your way to “thank” the person for the gift they have given you. Someone has thought enough about you to show their love and care. Would you receive the gift and not respond?
Church membership is a gift, a gift that has to be treasured. It should not be taken lightly or for granted. We respond to gifts with gratitude. It is a privilege to serve God. It should be our daily walk to serve Jesus like He did and like He told us to do. Berean Christian Church would be a lot healthier if all our members decided to serve. Are you the one, or the other two?