Serving One Another Through Our Presence and Participation

Photo by the The Lutheran World Federation

Photo by the The Lutheran World Federation

A Life of Service

The Christian life is a life of service. Nowhere in Scripture do I see a person coming to faith in Christ, and then the Lord asking that person to sit on their hands and do nothing. Quite the contrary. According to God’s Word, we are supposed to use our talents, abilities, and finances to build up the Body of Christ and advance His Kingdom here on earth. This is our mission as believers and as His Bride, the universal Church.

Serving Our Fellow Believers

Not only should we serve others outside of the church, but also we should serve one another within the church body as well.

We serve each other in two important ways. First, we serve each other as church members through our presence, by simply showing up. We need to be present on a regular basis for worship services and small group meetings. I think this is why the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 10:25, “ … not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” We need to show up, to be present, in order to encourage one another, to mature, to help each other grow in our walk with Christ.

Second, we serve each others through our participation, through using the gifts and abilities He has given to us. Each church member has their own special gifts and abilities that they bring to their church. These talents are important for church members to utilize in their own unique role within the Body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:4-14 (NIV) states:

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

An Age of Distraction

Unfortunately, we live in a unique of age of distraction. We have more and more stuff that is distracting us away from our service in God’s Kingdom. We have more media to consume than ever before. We have more social networks to keep up with. We have more activities scheduled on Sundays. We have children’s sports games to attend on the Lord’s Day. We have professional sports games to attend, do the tailgate party thing, or watch on TV.

I recently heard the statistic that a church member who is considered a “regular attendee” actually only attends church 40-50% of Sunday worship services. So, what we’re talking about here is people attending every other week at best. And over time, this statistic is getting worse, not better.

There’s something wrong with this picture. In my opinion, this is an attendance habit that was never God’s intention for His children.

Satan is pretty smart, though. He uses all of these “good” activities in order to distract us from what is most important for us – our spiritual lives, and the Kingdom of God.

Obedience and Priorities

I know I’m probably old-fashioned and not hip like the hipsters, but I believe there should be a high level of obedience when it comes to our presence and participation at church. We should be active weekly in the our local church. We should make this part of our a spiritual life a high priority. I believe this is an expectation of God the Father, otherwise, why would He have founded the Church through His Son in the first place?

Making church a priority in your personal life and family life will mean that you will need to say “no” to a lot of good stuff. It’s also going to mean a lot more work for you and your family as you will need to investigate which activities your children will be able to participate in based on weekend scheduling. If it conflicts with church attendance and participation, I personally wouldn’t do it. My family’s spiritual life is way more important than whether or not my kids are well-rounded in sports or the fine arts.

God cares more about our relationship with Him. Our presence and participation in the Body of Christ is a major part of that relationship with Him.

Questions: So, how’s your family’s attendance and participation level in your local church? Are you fully engaged or merely half in? What changes do you need to make to your weekend calendar to make His church a priority in your life?