Thursday, May 28, 2015

What Should A Church Expect From It's Members?

The tag line from the old American Express commercials said, “Membership has it’s privileges.”  This is also true for church members.  However, it is also true that “Membership has it’s responsibilities”.  I am sharing this article today, from “Nine Marks Of A Healthy Church”, by Mark Dever, Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC.
I would ask each church member, “active” and “inactive”, (my personal opinion is that the term "Inactive Member" is an oxymoron)  to prayerfully read this article and consider our own relationship to the church.

A church should expect that its members will:
  1. Attend services regularly. Hebrews 10:25 commands Christians not to forsake assembling together. Attending services regularly is one of the basic commitments of membership and one of the basic ways that a church member can grow in the faith, get to know other Christians, and allow the church leaders to shepherd and watch over his life.

  2. Attend communion particularly. Members should strive to be present when Christ’s death is commemorated and the church’s unity is displayed in communion.

  3. Attend members’ (business) meetings consistently (if the church is congregational). This is when the church makes decisions as a church that affect the whole church.

  4. Pray regularly. If your church has a membership directory, consider encouraging members to use it as a prayer list.

  5. Give regularly. The apostle Paul writes, “One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches” (Gal. 6:6).

  6. Build relationships with other members. Being a member in a local church is like being a hand or an eye (1 Cor. 12:21). You can’t function without all the other parts of the body. Just as a body func
    tions when each part does its job and works together with all the other members, a local church is built up into maturity in Christ as the members minister in an intimately interrelated way  (Eph. 4:15-16, 1 Cor. 12:12-26). So a church should expect that its members will build relationships with other members.
  7. Submit to the church’s leaders. The Scripture says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Heb. 13:17).

  8. Serve as God gives opportunity. God has given spiritual gifts to every member of the body of Christ so that everyone would use his or her gifts to build up the entire body (1 Cor. 12:7). A church should expect that all of its members will serve the whole church as God enables.
(this material has been adapted from Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever, pages 161-163)
How about you?  What does your church mean to you?  Do you take your church membership seriously?  May God speak to all of our hearts through this article!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Prayer Time

The first Thursday in May is designated as the "National Day of Prayer".

While every day should be a national day of prayer, most of us are sadly lacking in our prayer lives.

While I am less than enthusiastic about "Programmed" prayer events, especially those which are easily hijacked by those who have more of a political agenda than spiritual, I do believe that God's people need to band together in prayer. And certainly in these days of increased Christian persecution around the world.  Our nation needs the Salt and Light that only God's people can provide.  Pray for boldness in sharing the Gospel. We will not change the world through the ballot box or by who is in the White House.  We will change the world by sharing the Good News of Christ faithfully and by enthroning Him in Our House!

Here in the West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio Tri-State area, there are a number of National Day of Prayer observances, going on at court houses, city buildings, and other public places. Many are listed on line and in the local papers. Folks who would like to attend those have may options.

At Westmoreland Baptist Church we will be ringing our church bell at noon, in concert with many other churches around the nation, to call our people to prayer.  We do not have a formal program set up, but we will be having a prayer and scripture reading time beginning at 11:45 AM.  The informal time of prayer will be led by deacons Thamer Calhoun and Al Dienes.  All are welcome to attend.  The doors will open at 11:30.

In the mean time, don't let tomorrow be the only day you seriously pray for our nation.  Every day let us pray for our leaders, as the scriptures instruct us to do.