Encourage One Another

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 
Romans 12:9-13

This coming Sunday, we will affirm new covenant members. I am excited about this because it is the Lord growing our fellowship. It is also evidence of believers committing to fellowship with one another for the glory of God and our good. Church membership is more than saying, “I go to church.” It really is a commitment to do life together and to make much of Jesus together.
The church really is unlike anything else on earth. Kris quoted Charles Spurgeon last week when he said the church is the dearest place on earth. It really is. It is made up of people who have done nothing to earn membership, but are welcomed because they have trusted in the saving grace of the head, Christ. But with that comes some requirements. Church membership is not like a country club membership where you pay your dues and you are waited on. Church membership is one where Jesus has paid the membership dues in full and because of that, we all contribute to the goodness of others for the glory of God. But many christians are not sure what that means practically, so let me offer some suggestions.

The easiest thing you can do is simply show up. I have heard it said that Sunday morning church is a Saturday night commitment. Plan to attend and show up a few minutes early. This gives you time to meet and catch up with people. You might even catch the announcements and hear of some cool stuff that you can also show up to. You have no idea how encouraging it is to your fellow Christians that you make a point to worship with them.

Another thing is to find a way to serve. Many people don’t serve because they are not aware of a need. This is where I suggest you simply ask how you can serve. Ask our ministry leads how you can plug in. Show up early and help set up each week and stay for tear down. It is not a big commitment to serve in simple ways and is also a great way to get to know your brothers and sisters.

Another practice members can do is give. The church operates solely on the tithes and offerings of the believers that call our church their home. Through your giving, we are able to provide teaching and resources for you to grow in your faith. We are able to equip our ministry leads to faithfully teach our kids and students about Jesus. We are able to rent the school to have a place to gather for weekly worship. We are also able to support other mission efforts so that the Gospel can be proclaimed in other areas.

A critical practice members should do is pray for the church. I can honestly say that your pastors covet your prayers. We need our members pleading with the Spirit to convict and lead us. Your other brothers and sisters need your prayers as well. Prayer is one of the easiest ways to support the church, but is often the most neglected.

The last thing I would say is encourage one another. This is such an easy way to commit as a member. This looks like a greeting with a smile. Telling others that you are genuinely glad to see and worship with them. It means being deliberate to get to know those that you haven’t met. It is thanking those that serve in various ways. A little encouragement goes a long way.
I love our church and am so thankful that God allows me to be a pastor here. My prayer is that we continue to live out what Paul tells us in Romans 12:9-13. Let’s keep striving to be that kind of church.

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