“Many local churches suffer because the majority of its members only give a 10-20% commitment to the local church of which they are a part and an 80-90% commitment to other organizations and activities.”
I recently heard about a family in our denomination who drove nearly an hour to church every Lord’s Day for a number of years. Because of where they happened to live, there was no closer likeminded local church for them to attend. This family knew that committing to that long drive meant that they would not have the fellowship that they might have had otherwise. They did, however, expect that families in the church would invite them to lunch. After months of not be invited by anyone, the wife decided that she would be an agent of change. Every Sunday, she would bring a crockpot–with an easily prepared meal–to the church building. She would plug the crockpot in before the service and then invite families from the church to eat a meal with them after the service each Sunday. This is a prime example of what it means to “be the change” you are wanting in your church.
Last year, I wrote a post titled, “The Church Comes First,” in which I sought to give several reasons why I believe that according to Scripture the local church is to be the foremost sphere of priority in the lives of believers. I want to give further consideration to one of the points in that post where I suggested the following:
The Church is dependent on the resources and service of its members. The communal aspect of the church on earth is absolutely dependent on the willingness of the people of God to give of their time, gifts, prayers and resources for the building up of the members of the local church. Both pastors and people alike are in need of the gifts and resources of the members of the local church. The Apostles make this abundantly clear through their illustrative references to “the body” (Rom. 12 and Eph. 4). Equally, they do so by the multitude of references to using gifts and giving generously. Building cost, utilities, outreach, worship supplies, office supplies, staffing, mercy ministry, missionary support, etc. require the generous giving of the time and money of the members of the body.
When we divide our labors and fellowship, we necessarily end up hurting the local church of which we are a part. Imagine for a moment what it would be like if a husband and father decided to give a 20% commitment to provide and care for his family and an 80% commitment to provide and care for other friends and families. You would expect a monumental breakdown in the dynamic of his family life. In such a case, there would necessarily be detrimental marital and parental consequences. Similarly, many local churches suffer because the majority of its members only give a 10-20% commitment to the local church of which they are a part and an 80-90% commitment to other organizations and activities.