We continue this week with reflections about what it means to be a church member as we study I Am a Church Member as a church. This week's post comes from Dotty Thurston, our volunteer Director of Care Ministries. Dotty's fingerprints are all over this church as she has volunteered to paint and decorate spaces like the Cafe. Dotty's words here are only matched by her deep commitment to service in the church and the world.
Jen Hibben, Associate Pastor
There is only one reason that I am a church member.I love our Lord and Savior - that’s it!I love Jesus and I need to think and do whatever I can for him, in the hope of being with him someday.In saying that, being a christian and pledging myself to membership means I have committed myself to God - it is a promise to God that I will honor the church - the Body of Christ.Wow that’s so powerful! - a commitment to God!
So how do I do that?
I come to church - not only do I come to church but I prepare myself, my heart, toreceive anything God wants to teach me. I try to clear my brain calendar, the busyness of my life, and give God my time to worship Him.
So how do I honor the Body of Christ?I give of my service - I volunteer in the Care Ministry here. I visit our members in thehospital and sometimes in retirement communities, I participate in bible studies, and serve on various committees and so on. I give whatever talents I may have.Some of you have some pretty incredible talents like singing in the choir, leading the children, maintaining our building, while some of you prepare and serve meals to others nourishing a body at least one more day. I am so blessed for all the things you do for others - by example you show that you are a member of the body of Christ. Sorry to say, none of those are my talent but... I do paint walls. I have painted lots of walls in this church. And oh yes, much to my teammates chagrin, I play softball. It’s a funny sight. Our service and talents big and small are appreciated and needed to maintain this body.
So how do We Honor the Body of Christ?Stan and I give of our gifts.Stan and I enjoy being a part of giving to the budget. Yes, you heard me right - we are cheerful givers. But like Jeff Butler said a couple of weeks ago, sometimes it can be painful. I remember times in my life especially in my 20’s and 30’s it was hard andsometimes nonexistent. But today I am a cheerful giver. And I see the bounty of the fruits, the money you and I give throughout this church and beyond our walls. I can only hope that we are pleasing to God in what Stan and I are able to do.
I also Honor the Body of Christ through my conduct.Do you have this book yet? You need to read it. Thank you to those for bringing this to our attention. This book should shake you up a little bit and it will.....IF you take it seriously....and IF you are a part of the body of Christ. It calls out our behavior! If we love God, we must behave in a certain way. Membership calls on us to ALWAYS work together even when we have differences of opinions.We must love one another, even the unloveable. That can be a tough one but not so if you truly want to be in the Body of Christ. Membership means everything I do and say, is based on a biblical foundation of love - Everything! Putting it another way - Every thought, every action reflects our attitude towards God. I’m going to say this again - Every thought, every action reflects our attitude towards God! Here’s another tough one according to this book - When you become a member, you actually give up your preferences when you join. Pastor Jen preached about this last week. Do you have an agenda or want a certain way of doing things. According to this book, you are to give it up to be a part of Christ. Otherwise, you and I intentionally break up the body. We go against Christ. As a church member, my motives should not be to get my preferences or my way because as a servant of God, I am supposed to be last, and not first.As Pastor Jen said last week......We will never find joy in church membership if we constantly seek to do things our own way.
Lastly, as a member, I pray for our pastors. The spiritual leaders hand picked by God!Let me give you some statistics.
Consequently, only 10% of ministers will actually retire as ministers.Guess what is the root cause of these statistics? You and me.On page 49 of this book, it says “the devil sees the pastor as a threat, and one of his highest priorities is to take him down and take him out” Guess who Satan uses to bring down a pastor - You and me.
- 1,700 pastors leave the ministry each month
- 90% of pastors report working between 55-75 hours per week.
- 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
- 80% say being a pastor has had a negative affect on their families.
- 50% of pastor’s marriages end in divorce.
- 80% of seminary graduates will leave the ministry within the first five years.
So who’s soldier do we want to be - God’s or Satan’s. Please pray as the book says, for our pastors.
So why am I a church member?One reason, as I said, because I love the Lord and I have a commitment to Him.to serve and not be servedto love you when you are unloveable and because I want you to love me too.to behave in a Christ like way in every thought and action so God knows what I thinkof Him.And to protect my pastors, this church - the body of Christ.Please be a soldier of God with me.Serve.....love.....behave.....and protectTogether, let’s be the best members we can be.