September 25, 2016
This week we are going to talk about how to be an effective church member. So, as I was preparing this lesson, I got to thinking about the role of a church member. And to be honest, compared to the pastor, church members have it pretty easy. All they have to do is show up on Sunday for worship services, and maybe again on Wednesday night just to add a little extra learning.
I mean, it is the pastor and the church staff who are supposed to do all of the work of the church. If there are people to witness to or souls to save, call the pastor. If there are letters to send out, call the church secretary. If there are people to visit either as prospects, or at the hospital, or home bound, that is what the associate pastor is supposed to do. If there are teenagers or children to be mentored and taught, that is what the youth minister and children’s director are for.
Now, members may need to bring some food, every once in a while, for a fellowship or a funeral, but all of the rest of the stuff like cleaning the church, replacing light bulbs that have gone out, or repairs around the church, that is what we pay the staff for. My job as a member is to sit in that chair or pew on Sunday morning, stay awake during the sermon, say amen when the preacher says something good, and then go on my merry way letting the staff take care of everything else. Right?
If I tore up the bulletin into little pieces during the sermon to keep my mind occupied, it is my job to leave it on the floor of the sanctuary for the janitor to pick it up. If something is not right with the building, it is my job to find the maintenance guy and let him know about it. If we are not singing the right kind of music to suit my taste, it is my job to let the music director know. If the sermons are too long, and the pastor is causing me to be late for the buffet line at the local restaurant for lunch, it is my job to tell the pastor about that, right? He needs to know the problems he is causing.
Now, I hope everyone knows that I am being sarcastic here, and most people would say that this is not really true. It is not the job of the shepherd to make more sheep, it is the sheep who make more sheep. Right? I also know that there are a lot of pastors out there saying, hey, he’s not being sarcastic at all, that is just what my members think and do.
So maybe we start looking at actions rather than words. Think about it. When was the last time you made a new sheep in God’s flock? When was the last time you saw something that needed to be done for the church, and you just took care of it? A visitor needed to be shown around the church, and you just did it. A fellow brother or sister in Christ was at the hospital and his family needed a meal, or to be prayed over, and you just did it. A paper towel dispenser in the bathroom was empty, and you refilled it. You didn’t tell somebody about it, so they could fix it, you just did it.
We live in a secular world where people get paid to take care of all of our needs. The buildings we work in have maintenance personnel. The streets we drive on have repair crews and cleaners. The restaurants we eat at have servers. So we have this expectation that a church works in the same way as the secular world, but does it?
Are the offerings we give to the church best used to maintain the building and pay the salaries of the staff, or touch souls for Christ? Now, make no mistake about it, I am speaking to myself as much as anyone else. I have often called the maintenance guy to take care of a problem, and in some cases, he probably would prefer we let him know about it, rather than doing a poor job of it ourselves, making the job harder for him. But the core of my question is what should our attitude be about our service for God? Should we expect others to be the servants of God, or are we, the members, the servants of God?
Listen to this podcast to learn how to be an effective church member. How we are to wear the garment of humility, how we are to deal with all of our problems and worries, and most of all, how we are to stand and resist our true adversary, Satan.