For six weeks this fall, I spoke to our congregation about what it means to take our church membership seriously. I believe these messages were pivotal for our future growth. Even though we have been around for 78 years, the six qualities that we talked about are vitally important to being a people God will use and bless. In the messages, I said that as members of the Body of Christ – truly born again and possessing new life in Christ – and particularly as members of the family called Grace Chapel – we must:
Be functioning members – giving, serving, witnessing, seeking to be a blessing to other
Be a source of unity and not division – striving to keep the unity of the Spirit in an atmosphere of peace
Be selfless members – not insisting on our preferences or desires but seeking the good of others
Be praying members – praying for the leaders of the church, for the leading of the Spirit in all they do
Be members who influence – leading family members and others to fall deeper in love with the church
Treasure our membership – seeing it as a gift; humbled and honored to be a member
My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will continue to develop these six characteristics in each member of our church family, so that they serve as the foundation our life together as we move forward in the months and years ahead.
In the second week of the series, I talked about church members being a source of unity and not division. In that message, I shared a video clip from a pastor in Alabama who, with his church leadership team, challenges his congregation to know the vision and mission that God has called their church to fulfill. That is because the vision represents who they are as a church family.
For my church – Grace Chapel – our vision is to “Know Christ and Make Him Known,” and we seek to do this by growing in five areas: as worshipers, as disciples, in fellowship, through ministry, and through evangelism. To illustrate this, hold up an open hand, and the five fingers will represent the five points of our mission to “Know Christ and Make Him Known.”
This pastor also challenges his congregation to be ministers and missionaries. Each member comes to know their individual spiritual gifts, and then uses those gifts in service and ministry to and through the church. This includes each member taking the initiative to make sure that everyone they know – everyone in their “circle of influence” – their “personal mission field” – has the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and come to faith in Him. You see, to be a Christian – to be a member of the Body of Christ – is to be so grateful for what God has done for us in Christ that we cannot keep it to ourselves. Like Paul, we feel compelled to share it with others.
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:13-15 ESV)
I want these words to ring true for every member of the Grace Chapel family. Grow in worship as a daily part of your life. Grow as a disciple – a learner – of Jesus Christ. Grow in love and fellowship with the other members of this church family. Grow in your understanding and use of the spiritual gifts for service God has given you. Grow as a witness for Jesus Christ everywhere you go.