Do you have a sense of ownership when it comes to your church? While there’s a negative ownership that can express itself in gossip, a critical spirit, and a desire to control, there is also a right sense of ownership that each of us should have when it comes to our church. We are the body of Christ, and we each have a very important part in serving God and reaching the lost.
1 Corinthians 12:12
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.
To be a part of the body is a high and holy calling, not to be taken lightly. It is a great responsibility, first to God, and then to the other members of the body.
1 Corinthians 12:18-27.
But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 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. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
At my church we have a membership covenant to remind us of the responsibility we have as those who are the body of Christ. Anyone wishing to join our church must agree to the covenant and commit to several things:
- I WILL PROTECT THE UNITY OF MY CHURCH.
-by acting in love toward other members (Romans 14:19; 1 Peter 1:22).
-by refusing to gossip (Ephesians 4:29).
-by following the leaders (Hebrews 13:17).
- I WILL SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF MY CHURCH.
-by praying for its growth (1 Thessalonians 1:1-2).
-by inviting the unchurched to attend (Luke 14:23).
-by warmly welcoming those who visit (Romans 15:7).
- I WILL SERVE THE MINISTRY OF MY CHURCH.
-by discovering my gifts an talents.
-by being equipped to serve by my pastor (Ephesians 4:11-12).
-by developing a servant’s heart (Philippians 2:3-4, 7).
- I WILL SUPPORT THE TESTIMONY OF MY CHURCH.
-by attending faithfully (Hebrews 10:25).
-by living a godly life (Philippians 1:27).
-by giving regularly (1 Corinthians 16:2; Leviticus 27:30).
- I WILL SUBMIT TO THE AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH ELDERS.
-by receiving discipline for unrepentant sin
(Matthew 18:15-17; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; Titus 2:15).
-by reconciling broken relationships within the body as needed
(1 Thessalonians 5:14-15; 2 Corinthians 2:5-8; 5:18-20; Ephesians 4:2-3).
-by recognizing my accountability to the leadership of other church bodies I become or have been involved with (1 Corinthians 5; Titus 3:10-11).
Are you protecting the unity of your church?
Are you sharing the responsibility for the church?
Are you serving the ministry of your church?
Are you supporting the testimony of your church?
Perhaps most importantly, are you submitting to the authority of your church elders?
What’s holding you back from taking ownership, responsibility, for your church? The body of Christ is a beautiful thing, and when we surrender, when we take ownership and responsibility and choose to love and obey Christ by being faithful to His bride, we are never disappointed.
Honor it. Love it. Cherish it.
The results will prove to be astounding. Your relationship with God will grow. Your relationships with others will benefit. The church will increase. The lost will be saved. God will be glorified.
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.