what does it mean to be a member of a church body part 2 n.
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  2. “So many who attend church have a ‘what can I get’ mentality rather than a ‘what can I give’ mind-set.” --D. Akin “All followers of Christ should…serve Him by serving others based on the Biblical instructionset forth in Scripture.”--Franklin GrahamSamaritan’s PurseBilly Graham Evangelistic Association The Church Challenge

  3. Losing ground: In the USA… …9 out of 10 churches are either declining or growing at a slower pace than their cities. Losing percentage: In the USA… …of those born before 1946, about 67% are Christian. …of those born 1980-2000, only 15% are Christian. Losing attitudes: Worldly membership is an entitlement to receive.“Membership has its privileges.” Church membership is an opportunity to serve.“Membership has its responsibilities.” The Changing Demographics

  4. In his excellent book “I AM A CHURCH MEMBER,” Thom Rainer outlines several commitments that church members need to make. As we make these commitments: We experience a new or renewed attitude about church. As our attitude changes, our church will become healthier. As our church becomes healthier, we have a greater impact. As our impact increases, our country and our world will experience healing. The Challenge To Change

  5. 1. I will be a functioning church member

  6. The First Pledge I am a church member. I like the metaphor of membership. It’s not membership as in a civic organization or a country club. It’s the kind of membership given to us in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “Now you are the body of Christ and individual members of it.” Because I am a member of the body of Christ, I must be a functioning member, whether I am an “eye,” an “ear,” or a “hand.” As a functioning member, I will give. I will serve. I will minister. I will evangelize. I will study. I will seek to be a blessing to others. I will remember that “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). 1. I will be a functioning church member

  7. 2. I will be a unifying church member

  8. The Second Pledge I am a church member. I will seek to be a source of unity in my church. I know there are no perfect pastors, staff, or other church members. But neither am I perfect. I will not be a course of gossip and division. One of the greatest contributions that I can make is to do all I can in God’s power to help keep the church in unity for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 2. I will be a unifying church member

  9. 3. I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires

  10. Ever seen children fight? They want their own way, right now, without compromise. People never revert to childish behavior as Christians, right? WRONG!! Church is the one type of membership where you give up your preferences when you join. Church is so not about you. Church is so about Jesus Christ. You need to focus on the needs of others, not on the preferences and desires of yourself. Jesus’ own disciples had a “me first” fight. What did Jesus do? “Sitting down, He called the Twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.’” (Mark 9:35) The apostle Paul said, “I was made a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of His power.” (Eph 3:7) As a church member, my motivation shouldn’t be to get my preferences and desires to the top of the list. I’m called to be last, not first. We won’t be happy if we are constantly seeking to have it our own way. We will feel frustrated. I’m supposed to be a servant, instead of seeking to be served. 3. I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires

  11. Dominant behavior patterns of unhealthy self-serving churches. Worship wars: I’m wanting to worship my way. Prolonged minutia meetings: I’m focused on forcing my will on others in endless small details while ignoring the Great Commission (reaching the lost) and the Great Commandment (loving God). Facility focus: I’m obsessed with preserving and protecting the rooms, furniture, grounds, and building. Program driven: I’m focused on preserving my favorite program, instead of asking if the program meets the current needs of the church as a whole. Inwardly focused budget: I’m wanting to spend money on the needs and comforts of church members, without being concerned about how much is spent on reaching beyond the church. 3. I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires

  12. Dominant behavior patterns of unhealthy self-serving churches. Inordinate demands for pastoral care: I’m having unreasonable expectations in minor matters. I’m expecting someone to visit me regularly, even if I don’t request them to and haven’t expressed any genuine needs. Attitudes of entitlement: I’m demanding special treatment because I’m important. Don’t you know who I am?! Greater concern about change than the gospel: I’m going to be angry if you change anything. (Never mind that I’m not as passionate about reaching the lost as I am about not changing things.) Anger and hostility: I’m constantly angry. I’m expressing angry feelings toward the church staff and other members. Evangelistic apathy: I’m too busy to share my faith with others. Can’t your see I’m busy trying to meet my needs and the needs of my family? Don’t we pay the pastor and missionaries to reach the lost? In every case of an unhealthy church, the focus is more on self than on others. 3. I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires

  13. The Third Pledge I am a church member. I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires. That is self-serving. I am a member in this church to serve others and to serve Christ. My Savior went to a cross for me. I can deal with any inconveniences and matters that just aren’t my preference or style. 3. I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires

  14. 4. I will pray for my church leaders

  15. Leaders have frequent interruptions in their lives which can hinder their work for the church. Imagine a pastor in Bible study preparing for the next message. The phone rings. A church member has just been involved in an accident and is in the hospital. He drops everything and goes. He arrives back in time for a committee meeting. He hurries off to counsel a couple with a troubled marriage. His email inbox is flooded. One of the members is upset that he hasn’t dropped by their house lately, even though they never invited him. When will he have time to pray and to finish the sermon? 1 Timothy 3:2-4 “An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy—one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity.” Talk about high expectations for elders and pastors! Leaders need prayer. 4. I will pray for my church leaders

  16. 1 Timothy 3:5 “If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?” Leaders are often concerned about their own families, even while caring for other families. Leaders are concerned that they may be neglecting their own families in order to meet the demands of the church. Leaders are pained when unfair criticism is directed at their families. Pray for leadersAND their families. 1 Timothy 3:7 “Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the devil’s trap.” Pray for leader to have strong character and to avoid temptation. Mark 14:27 “I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.” The devil intentionally tries to trip up Christian leaders. Pray for the protection of all our leaders. Pray for leaders to have strong moral, physical, mental, and spiritual health. 4. I will pray for my church leaders

  17. The Fourth Pledge I am a church member. I will pray for my elders and pastor every day. I understand that the elders spend many hours in prayer and discussion every month before rendering decisions. I understand that the pastor’s work is never ending. His days are filled with numerous demands that bring emotional highs and lows. He must deal with critics. He must be a good husband and father. Because my leaders cannot do all things in their own power, I will pray for their strength and wisdom daily. 4. I will pray for my church leaders

  18. 5. I will lead my family to be healthy church members

  19. Joyfully come together to church, not out of guilt, fear, or legalistic obligation. Remind your family that no church is perfect, no pastor is perfect, no church member is perfect, and they are not perfect either. Remind your family that the church is “a hospital for sinners” and not “a club for saints.” Remind your family to look at the “log” (their many imperfections) in their own eyebefore judging the “speck” (their irritation) in someone else’s eye. Families are analogous to church. Eph 5:32-33 “This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.” Some wives say they’ll respect their husband only at times when he is respectable. But does a wife want her husband to love her only at times when she is lovable? Don’t we all need love at times when we’re imperfect? Christian love is unconditional. We should love at all times. Christian respect is unconditional. We should respect at all times. 5. I will lead my family to be healthy church members

  20. Just as we are supposed to sacrifice and love our familiesunconditionally, so are we to unconditionally love the church where God has placed us. As a family, pray for the church. Pray for spiritual protection, for protection from moral failure, for the preaching of the Word, for anointed worship, for strong families, for encouragement, for physical strength, for courage, for discernment, for wisdom. As a church member, I am responsible for encouraging and leading my entire family to worship together in the church. Even if I am single, I am still an example to others, including children. If members of my family are unbelievers, I am called to be a good example to them. They are watching my life closely. As a church member, I need to do more than like my church and serve my church. I am called to fall deeply in love with the church as the bride of Christ. I commit to unconditional love for Christ’s church. Rom 5:8 “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” I need to love even the sinners in my church. Remember the church is a hospital for sinners, and not a club for saints. 5. I will lead my family to be healthy church members

  21. The Fifth Pledge I am a church member. I will lead my family to be good members of this church as well. We will pray together for our church. We will worship together in our church. We will serve together in our church. And we will ask Christ to help us fall deeper in love with this church because He gave His life for her. 5. I will lead my family to be healthy church members

  22. 6. I will treasure church membership as a gift

  23. Mother says prepare to clean your room spotlessly. • Mother says prepare to receive a special gift. • Which would you prefer? • If you have a “country club” attitude to church membership, serving the church is… • a legalistic obligation (God will be angry if I don’t) • a social duty to be endured (They asked me, so I ought to) • a prison term to be completed (I have to “do my time”) • A “country club” member can think the pastor should do everything. (Isn’t that what we “hired” him to do?) • A “country club” member can think service is beneath them. (Don’t you know who I am?) • A “country club” member wants everything tailored to their personal tastes. • The worship should be this way! • The sermon should be this long! • Why don’t the leaders do something about that! • How dare you ask me--don’t you know how busy I am! • Why did we do it that way! (Why wasn’t I consulted!) • I pay tithes (my “club dues”). Don’t I have a say in this! 6. I will treasure church membership as a gift

  24. The biblical option sees membership as a gift to be treasured. Membership means we have the opportunity to serve together as a team to accomplish great things for God. Our attitude is different when we see membership as a gift. All have sinned. (Rom 3:23) All deserve death. (Rom 6:23) Jesus took my place. (2 Cor 5:21) Repentance brings times of refreshing. (Acts 3:19) Salvation is God’s gift; we can’t boast. (Eph 2:8-9) God’s gift includes being a member of the body of Christ. (1 Cor 12:27-28) The body of Christ is the “universal church” of all true believers. And the local church isn’t mutually exclusive of the universal church. Most of the New Testament is written to specific local churches! Service to God in a local church is an outflow of the gift of our salvation! We find joy in seeking to be last by putting others first! (Less stress!! ) “The Son of Man [Jesus] did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) 6. I will treasure church membership as a gift

  25. The Sixth Pledge I am a church member. This membership is a gift. When I received the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, I became part of the body of Christ. I soon thereafter identified with a local body and was baptized. And now I am humbled and honored to serve and to love others in our church. I pray that I will never take my membership for granted, but see it as a gift and an opportunity to serve others and to be part of something so much greater than any one person or member. 6. I will treasure church membership as a gift

  26. DON’T GO TO CHURCH…BE THE CHURCHBe a member of a body that’s so much bigger than yourself only.