It’s a sentiment that I hear, observe, or read about with some regularity these days. Have you heard it?
The person says: “Oh, yes. I love Jesus and follow him. But being a committed member of a church? No, not so much.”
For some, I think it’s just a pragmatic statement of self-interest. They might add: “I just go here and there; wherever my needs are met and I get fed. If the music is great, the teaching is relevant, and the kids programs are excellent – that’s where you will find me. At least until something better comes along.”
For others, I think it may be rooted in some hurt or disappointment in the past. They might say: “Yeah, I was really involved in a church once, but that didn’t work out so well. By the time I backed away from there, I was pretty disillusioned and burned out. I think I’ll just stay on the periphery now.”
For others, I think it may reflect the fact that they just didn’t grow up having much church experience at all. They might say, “You know, my family was not a ‘church-going” type of family. We sometimes went at Christmas or Easter, but that’s about it. So, I’ve always felt like an ‘outsider’ at church; I’m not sure I would fit in.”
For others, I think it indicates a lack of knowledge or understanding about what the Bible teaches on this topic. If you were to tell them that Jesus himself said, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18), they might say: “You’re kidding. I thought the idea of church was just something a bunch of religious leaders dreamed up somewhere along the way.
I’m sure there are other reasons as well. Yet, as I read Scripture, it’s crystal clear to me that God expects us not only to follow Jesus, but also to love the church.
The church is the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27) and the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25 ff.). And, as his body and bride, Jesus “nourishes and cherishes” the church – what tender and affectionate language!
So, once you know these truths it’s really inconceivable for a genuine Christ follower to say, “The Church? Meh.”
Oh no. Once you see what the Scripture teaches, if you follow Christ wholeheartedly, you will not only attend church, you will become a member of a church, and you will “strive to excel in building up the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12).
So, if you are “all in” as a member at Ingleside already, thank you. Your commitment honors and pleases God. Stay in the game!
If you are a “member,” but not really “all in.” Take the next step toward full commitment today. Don’t just be a “passenger,” be part of “the crew.”
If you are not yet a “member,” I look forward to seeing you at a membership class soon. The next three are on Sundays, January 21, or February 11, or March 18.
If you’ve not yet attended worship at Ingleside, I hope to see you this Sunday at 8:30, 9:40, or 11:00 a.m. Please introduce yourself when you come. I’d love to meet you personally.
I’m really grateful to be on this journey with you. And, yes, I’m convinced that the best is yet to come!