I was just thinking about what a wonderful privilege it is to be a member of Chenal Valley Baptist Church. We have a wonderful congregation that, like so many, is not yet at full strength following the tremendous effects of the COVID pandemic. We are blessed with sweet harmony, fine fellowship and great worship services. Being a church member is a real blessing!
Yet, I was just thinking about this: What is a Church Member? I share with you just a few thoughts about this blessing.
• A Church Member is Part of a Body. Referring to the church, the gathering of Christ, Paul wrote, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it.” He was addressing people who had been saved from the condemnation of sin, baptized by immersion and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He was talking to people who are to worship the Lord and serve Him with all their hearts.
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ” (I Cor. 12:12).
• A Church Member is Useful and Needed. When I say “needed” I mean that to the fullest extent. There cannot be a full gathering if all who are members do not gather… everyone is needed. Why? Because all parts of the body have particular abilities and, for the local church to properly do the will of God, each member is needed to do his or her part. In my 58 years of ministry, I have heard so many express their opinions and yes, their excuses. Some have been emphatic: “I don’t need the church!” or “I’m not important, the church doesn’t need me!” Neither of those statements are true.
Paul also addressed the importance of being a church member. He wrote, “Now the body is not made up of one part, but of many.” He then spoke of the need of a hand compared to the foot; the ear compared to the eye. Then he summed it up this way: “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body” (I Cor. 12:14, 18-20).
The apostle addressed the opinions in this way: “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor,” (I Cor. 12:21-23).
Think about your family for a moment. Who is most important in your family? Is it Dad? Mom? Is it one of the children, but not all of them? No, of course not! In fact, every member of your family, just like all the members of your church, is important. That is even though each has a different responsibility and differing abilities to make the family unit what it should be.
Your church is also a family. Church members should treat the church family like they would the members of their families.
• A Church Member is Gifted. Because the Lord has given His gathering, His body, a commission, He has not left them unequipped to accomplish His commands. I hear so many say, “I don’t teach and I don’t sing, so I am not very useful in the church.” Nothing can be farther from the truth. If you are a church member, you have been gifted by the Holy Spirit with abilities that are particularly geared to help the body work together to accomplish God’s will and fulfill Christ’s Great Commission.
Paul wrote, by inspiration: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (I Cor. 12:7).He then listed a number of those spiritual gifts that are needed, useful, and given to work together with other members of the body. Now notice this: “All these are the work of the one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.” Church member, you are spiritually gifted and particularly equipped to work with others in your church.
• A Church Member is a Worshiper. The church is not just a gathering of people, it is a gathering of worshipers. In fact, that is the supreme reason we gather from Sunday to Sunday in various houses of worship. A church member who refuses to gather with others to worship the One Who gave His only Son, to lift up the name of the One who died to save that individual from the condemnation of sin, and to submit to the leadership of the Holy Spirit to serve the Lord with body, mind and soul, has abandoned the body with whom he or she should be serving.
We humans can make every excuse we want as to why we do not gather to worship with other believers, but when it comes down to it, most just don’t want to gather even though God’s Word instructs us to do so. Jesus said, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24).
• A Church Member is an Encourager. All members are not teachers or singers or servers, but all should be encouragers. One of the best ways to be an encourager is to gather with the body, not in the manner of some who choose not to be active parts of the church. Being together in fellowship and unity, worshiping together with singing and praying, giving together through tithes and service are all aspects of being an encouraging church member. Our Lord is coming back — that is His promise! Until then, we need to be the churches in our communities that serve Him and worship in spirit and truth… looking always for His soon return.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:24-25).
Friends, being a church member is an honor and a privilege not to be taken lightly. Let me encourage you, in your local church in your community, to be and do exactly what God expects you to do as you gather to worship and as you depart to serve.