Have you ever had a good read of an internet review? Sometimes it’s hilarious to note the aspects that seem so minor to you, but that have pained a reviewer so much that they not only remember it but have turned it into a long negative review! The trouble is, I laugh at the review but I won’t buy the product – I don’t want to waste my hard-earned cash on something that might turn out to be disappointing.
I think the same could be said of a number of aspects of our lives - we want to invest where we know there’s a good return. Finding friends who will help us feel good, spending time on things that are satisfying and uplifting, investing energy only where we will get a positive result.
We are naturally careful consumers, and we can easily bring the same approach to church.
‘I want to belong to a church that…’
Helps me fit in?
Teaches the Bible well?
Has good ‘worship’?
Don’t get me wrong – these are all important, but contrast them with the apostle Paul’s view of church:
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
The message is simple – if you are baptised into Christ (by the Spirit) you are baptised into His body. Commit to Christ – you’re committed to his family, no choice involved! And notice that bit about Jews and Greeks, slaves and free – some of the most radical divisions in that society, some of the people you would most try to avoid; well they’re in your family now and you’re committed to them, no choice involved!
Whatever your relationship to church at the moment you have gifts and character that Christ’s body is missing out on if you sit on your hands and count yourself out. You can’t find the perfect church or feel completely at home but you can get involved to make a part of Christ’s body a little more Christlike, to make others feel slightly more at home.
Here are 4 things you may want your church to do for you, could you turn them around and instead do them for Christ’s church?
- INVITE – We can always wait to feel invited, or we can make the decision ourselves. If you’re not in a church – is there a church near you could give yourself to? If you’re in church how could you make sure you’re really in? Regular attendance? Joining a small group? Serving on a team?
- WELCOME – We want to be welcomed when we go or do something new, but until we show up we can’t take part! The first step is always hard, but we take it hoping the next might be easier – so walk through the door, ask how to get involved, sign up to take part.
- WEAVE – God’s heart is not just that we attend but we belong to His family and the amazing truth is we feel included when we find ways to include others. Who could you include? Maybe look out for one person in the church who seems to be on the edge and see how you could make them feel they belong
EQUIP – Our strengths and gifts can be used for the good of Christ’s body. But notice how we don’t start here and rule things out ‘because they’re not my gifting.’ Rather as I commit I see how God can use the individual that is me to serve His church. Where do you have a talent that may meet a need in your community? Offer it as a gift!