Summary: Church membership is a gift, not a perk.
Series: I Am a Church Member
(based on and adapted from Thom Rainer’s book by the same name)
“I Will Treasure Church Membership as a Gift”
I go into a bit of depression several times a year. One of those times is very close. It’s the end of the NCAA men’s basketball season. The other comes after the Super Bowl – the end of the NFL season. There comes quite a dry spell for me sports-wise between the close of NCAA men’s basketball and the start of the NFL season. I haven’t been a MLB baseball fan since the last player strike.
There are other times that I feel a bit down. Those times come at the completion of a sermon series. I almost always feel sorry to be done but I also know that there are always some people who are always glad when I am done.
Today, we’re going to finish our study together of Thom Rainer’s book I Am a Church Member. We’re at chapter six: “I Will Treasure Church Membership as a Gift.”
Every church member must decide between two distinct options. The first option is that we approach church membership in a similar way that we approach country club membership. We are joining the church to see what we can get out of it. We will determine what we like and don’t like. We are members who expect perks, privileges, and service.
Rainer asks, “What happens when the country club church member is asked to contribute to the work of the church?” He gives the examples of the opportunities of serving in the nursery and leading a fifth grade Bible study class.
One country club church member may agree to one of the requesst out of obligation and they do so because he or she has a legalistic approach to serving. They don’t respond because they want to but because they have to. Remember that country club church membership is not about working. It’s about being served. Usually someone who responds in this way begins their service with a bad attitude and they don’t last long in their service.
Other country club church members just get mad when they’re asked to serve. Some may respond that they did their time in earlier years – as if serving the body of Christ is a prison sentence. Others refuse to even give a reason as to why they won’t contribute to the ministry of the church. They just get indignant because they were asked. And then there are those country club church members who get mad at the pastoral staff. They usually say something like, “That’s what we pay our ministers to do. They’re just trying to get out of work.”
The first option is the country club church membership. The second option is the biblical option. This option views church membership as a gift. It sees membership as an opportunity to serve and give rather than the legalistic obligation to do so. Our entire attitude is different when we approach church membership in the biblical way. Church membership is a gift, not a perk.