Monday, July 28, 2014

Letters from the Soul: This Month's Newsletter Column

August 2014: “Ask What You Can Do for the Church” 

Dear Church,

Though we most often associate the month of November with the presidency of John F. Kennedy (because that is when his presidency, and his life, ended in his assassination), it was actually during this month, August, when his name was made. On August 2, 1943, Kennedy’s PT 109 was rammed by a Japanese destroyer and Kennedy became a war hero.

When asked much later how he became such a hero, he answered: “It was involuntary. They sunk my boat.” JFK had a talent for memorable lines like that, and one of my favorites remains his famous line from his inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

I love it because not only does it appeal to the virtue of serving in the national interests, but because it is so easily applicable in a church setting as well. Ask not what your church can do for you, but ask what you can do for your church. Now that’s something worth striving for!

Unfortunately, a lot of churches don’t in the model of church membership we have today, which ministry expert Thom Rainier encapsulates quite well: “We have turned church membership into country club membership. You pay your dues and you are entitled to certain benefits.”

Thom goes on to say that the country club model of church membership is not Scriptural…indeed, the New Testament church, as we have seen in our current sermon series on Acts, functioned almost as a commune where everyone donated everything they had, 100 percent.

But what a lot of ministry experts also note is that churches that are more prone to decline tend to be churches with that “country club membership” mentality that Thom notes, because that can overtake the outward focused mentality that all churches need to have in order to spread the Gospel. After all, Jesus Christ came to this earth not to be served as its king, but to serve as its king.

Let us spend our time here not expecting to be served as church members, but to serve as church members. And so I invite you to ask yourself, what you can do for the church, for the entire body of Christ that is striving to build His kingdom?

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Eric

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