Committed to the Local Church
You have to pay a price for everything!
Nothing comes free. Even though we say salvation is free, and freely we receive, we know well that Yeshua paid for that with His life, and His blood.
Let me ask you a few relevant questions. Has real Christianity cost you something? How much does it cost you to stand on your commitment to Christ daily, whether at work or with family? How much are you willing to commit yourself to being a part of one church instead of being a ‘spiritual tourist’?
As Pastors Bev and I with all our leadership team need answers to these questions, because people need to ‘grow out’ of past mindsets and come into a more sold out and radical thinking where commitment is concerned.
Let me explain. Those that attend any local church with a ‘consumer’ attitude are truly not found to be committed to one place. When people visit any local church, many times they often first ask, “Is there anything in it for me?” We evaluate the church and rate it, often unconsciously, but often, nevertheless. Not necessarily with malice, but with expectation and a too quick, critical eye. We go on to ask, “Do these people love me and appreciate me? Is there a quality Junior Church program? Do we like the music? Is there a strong youth ministry? Is the Pastor funny? Is the preaching sound? Do I feel like I am loved in this church?” if you notice, most of these questions have a kind of, built-in, self-centred attitude. People are looking for things they want from the church; they want their own schedules to fit in… “After all”…they say…“we have all the right to pick and choose, don’t we?”
But here is the real fundamental truth that needs to be solidified in our churches today. This is once I know for sure that God is calling me to this community. We need to ask the question…“How can I invest my life for maximum impact in my local church?”
George Barna, statistician to the church, says that less than 40% of Christians who describe themselves as faithful members – even attend church. He says that 20-25% of the Christians usually change churches – every year! No wonder we are becoming a company of ‘believers’ but not ‘belongers’!
Therefore the ‘consumer’ Christian is the one who finally decides whether he is committed or not based on his own personal standards, rather than the plumb line of the Scriptures.
I came to know Yeshua personally in early 1973. This was a face-to-face encounter that radically changed my life and my destiny. I have never turned back from serving God in my entire 40 years of being a Christian, and I still do today. When I joined a church and committed myself to a Pastor then, I was sold out. We could not even think of leaving or changing church. Only after 33 years of ministry and after serving our local church faithfully, the Lord led us to another level of ministry where we are in today.
Commitment is costly. It is hard to take a stand and work out God’s will for your life in all that He has for you.
The local church is not a club. The local church is not a disposable thing, and the local church was not formed by God to serve our flesh. The Church is also not a hobby. It has been designed by God to be a kind of family and a family like no other. It is not a club or just an activity.
It is our flesh that is working to keep our pleasures and pursue our comforts and we need to recognize it as such. If we continue this way we will never grasp the true meaning of why Jesus died, we will never come into a fullness of intimacy with Him, we will never mature in our giftings and we will have no roots to counter a storm that comes suddenly.
The flesh is always independent. The flesh wants to remain alone, and have the ultimate authority over our life. Our flesh always seeks its ease and leaving a church is always easier than sticking it out. Leaving community is easier for the flesh, but leaving community is not best for our spirit. And when we leave our discipleship relationships are fundamentally altered. There is a rupture. And then we have to start over again. Sadly, many Christians start over, and then start over…and then again start over…again and again throughout their Christian life, and they never seem to either be satisfied or content in their Christianity, getting lost in a myriad of relationships that are still loose and non-committed.
So pay the price of commitment! It is worth it. The local church needs those who can run the full race, fight till the last round, and keep the faith till all is finally over. Faithfulness and commitment are the cry of the day!