For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11
In our hyper-connected and technologically interwoven culture there are plenty of clubs to be a part of. Look at Facebook. We share a large amount of our personal and intimate information hoping to be noticed or “liked”. There is a group for everyone and everything. While the ability to socialize and interact with like-minded people is important, it has brought about the unintended consequence of devalued real-life relationships and partnerships.
Unfortunately, the devaluation of membership has crept into the church as well. People just don’t see the benefit of formal membership. This is not just a problem with people not liking the idea. Our leaders have often done a poor job teaching the value of church membership. We love God and one another with true affection and good works. And we hold one another accountable as we seek to glorify God together; being united to one another in love.
Unity is also maintained by refusing to gossip about each other. Our members covenant to not only refuse to listen to gossip, but to encourage the party gossiping to go and speak directly to the individual they are talking about. Gossip can burn like wildfire and damage reputations and relationships. It needs to be avoided and dealt with right away.
Protecting the unity of the church also includes following the biblical leadership of the elders of the church. This cannot be done blindly or silently, but thoughtfully, humbly, and graciously. It is OK to ask the leadership for clarification of decisions that are made. It is good to offer feedback, suggestions, and even helpful critique. The line is crossed when members are being unnecessarily divisive.
For those in church leadership, spend more time and effort teaching on the value of membership to your people. This should not be done to increase your numbers or giving, but because you are calling people to what God calls us all to. We know that people rarely, if ever, can sustain growth in isolation. Love your people by challenging them to covenant alongside others to proclaim the Gospel, grow in grace, and glorify God.
Rev. Dr. Major Stewart, Pastor
Greater Mt. Sinai Baptist Church
Charlotte, North Carolina
Sunday, July 14, 2019
Source: Jimmy Fowler