The church is described in God’s Word as a Bride, a Building, and as a Body. Using the “Body” metaphor, Paul explains this concept in I Cor. 12:12 – “For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body – so also is Christ.”
At Faith, we have embraced the reality that God has given us a beautiful body of believers that make up our church family. Each member has a responsibility to fulfill their function in the context of their roles. When new members experience our “Faith Journey” class we always discuss the expectations and the benefits of membership.
The Expectations of Membership include:
- I should be an Attending member.
- I should be a Giving member.
- I should be a Growing member.
- I should be an Accountable member.
The Benefits of Membership include:
- I will have Spiritual Leadership.
- I will have Biblical Teaching.
- I will have a Caring Community.
- I will have Opportunities to Serve.
- I will have a Voice in church decisions.
- I will be part of a church with a Big Vision.
In Thom Rainer’s little book entitled, “I Am A Church Member” he reminds us of this important truth: “God did not give us local churches to become country clubs where membership means we have privileges and perks. He placed us in church to serve, to care for others. to pray for leaders, to learn, to teach, to give, and, in some cases, to die for the sake of the gospel. Many churches are weak because we have members who have turned the meaning of membership upside down. It’s time to get it right. It’s time to become a church member as God intended. It’s time to give instead of being entitled.” (p.6)
As the pastor of Faith, I can honestly say that we are blessed to have members who take their role and responsibility seriously. However, we are not immune to our culture. We have members who are lacking in commitment as well. My prayer, and my heart’s desire is for God’s people to experience a revival in what it means to be His Bride and His Body. Membership matters. I love serving alongside the members of Faith Baptist Church!
God’s Word is both a light and a lamp for our feet and our path. The Psalmist declared that “The Law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover, by them your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7-11 NKJV).
As we begin a brand new calendar year, I am preparing a series of messages that we are simply calling “The Grand Story.” Following an outline in D.A. Carson’s book, “The God Who Is There” – I will share an overview of the whole Bible and how His Story is connected to our story. The entire Bible is a tapestry woven together as a glorious unified whole by the very breath of God. There is a brilliant connection between the Old and New Testaments that focuses on a single theme – The Grand Story of a Mighty God who creates, protects, rescues, redeems, and sustains His people for all time and eternity.
Faith Baptist Church is firmly founded on several core values that find their origin in The Grand Story. We must return eagerly and regularly to these core themes to remain well grounded in God’s Word. It is my hope that every member of our church family will embrace these foundational stones personally and with great conviction:
- We are a Biblical church. God’s Word is our guide book for life; we are committed to practice the principles found in the Bible.
- We are a Relational church. People are the primary focus of our ministry; we value relationships and seek to help others grow as followers of Jesus.
- We are an Intentional church. Loving God and sharing His love with people is the premise on which we operate; we do what we do on purpose.
- We are a Transformational church. Through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, lives are being changed as people become more like Christ; our culture is changed as a result.
- We are a Missional church. Our heart beats for God’s glory among the nations. We are committed – at any price and at all costs – to reaching the whole world with the Gospel.
These concepts, or core values, clarify our focus in all areas of ministry and mission. They shape not only what we believe, but how we behave as a church family. My prayer for Faith in the coming year is that our foundation will be very firm as we press toward an exciting future!
Preparing for Sunday is about getting our minds focused and our hearts ready for worship. It starts long before we grab our Bibles, jump in the car, and race to arrive on time. I’m convinced that one of the disciplines for getting the most out of meeting with The Lord is simply taking some time in preparation.
Here’s my prayer as I think about gathering with God’s people in worship on Sunday:
“Lord, create in me a clean heart. This week has been busy and I want to download my bad attitudes and any thought that might interrupt your voice as I come into your presence in worship. Help me embrace my role as pastor with humility, gratitude, and total dependence on Your power. Blaze your Word into my mind and ignite a fire to share it deep in my soul. Help me love your people and see them through eyes of compassion. Give me clarity as I offer the hope of life through Christ. Fill every space on our campus with the strong sense of your presence.
Allow your people to come hungry – fill us with anticipation and an overwhelming sense of awe and wonder as we sing your praises. Let our prayers be real, authentic, and genuine. Give us opportunity to meet new friends and see people saved by the power of the gospel. I am grateful for another day to live and breath and share the good news with others. My heart is full, my mind is clear and my flesh is weak. I am totally dependent upon your power as the only hope of transformation. Speak, Lord – give us ears to hear and hearts to obey. I offer this prayer in the strong and beautiful name of Jesus; amen.”
My hope is that every week, more and more of our church family will engage in spiritual preparation for worship. It will change the way we see Sundays!