“We [Christians] don’t go to church to meet our needs. We do it to glorify God.”
So began Pastor Todd West’s sermon at Oasis Church yesterday, a convicting message that outlined both the expectations that particular church has of its members and the characteristics I believe God had in mind when he formed his church, as recorded in the Bible.
The modern Christian church (at least in America; I can’t speak for churches abroad) is one of the only organizations in existence to which you can belong and never contribute. High school football teams require their members to come to practice faithfully; health clubs expect members to pay dues; even hunting clubs have expectations that, if violated, will get a member ejected. Why, then, should the church be content with a membership roster full of people who give nothing, serve nowhere, and attend only rarely?
Tradition, for one, and fear. In recent history, church attendance has waned. Churches are dying. And in response, their administrators have lowered the bar, doing and allowing whatever necessary to keep butts in seats.
Sunday’s message at Oasis was about raising that bar. And it made me proud to be a part of the body of Christ. If you’re looking for a church, I encourage you to look for one expectations like these, which come directly from Oasis’s membership covenant:
- Church members should protect the unity of their church, acting in love toward one another, refusing to gossip, and following their leaders.
- Church members should meet faithfully with their church families, making every attempt to be there whenever the doors are open.
- Members should serve in their church’s ministries, taking the time to discover their gifts and talents and then using them to spread the Word.
- Members should support their church financially, giving at least God’s tithe back to support His work.
- Members should accept accountability from their church family, welcoming the loving concern of others if they act in a way that seems to be counter to God’s will and word.
- They should participate actively in the growth of their church, inviting others to attend, praying for its development, sharing their faith with others, and warmly welcoming visitors.
- Finally, they should seek to grow spiritually with their church family, studying the Bible daily, participating in activities that will help them learn God’s will and hone their gifts and talents.
If you’d like to hear more about this topic or the sermon on which this post is based, you can listen online at InsideOasis.com.
And as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, or disagreements in the comments below.