Written Word

As a Christian, I should have a commitment to the church

What do a successful marriage, a successful business and a successful expedition have in common? They all possess clearly defined goals. The people in them are focused, they know what they want and they will remove any obstacles that would prevent them reaching their goal.

Similarly, a successful local church is composed of people who are committed to Christ and who understand that when Christ called them to him, he called them to his church. The local church then needs leaders who have a clear vision for the church and its calling to proclaim the gospel and to build up the faith in the body of believers. When no opportunity for spiritual development, growth or meaningful fellowship is provided, poor commitment is inevitable. We are saved in community. Together we are members of Christ’s body, we belong to a family, we are citizens of a kingdom, and we are joined together. “Together” is a dominant theme when Paul is writing about the church. (Ephesians 2:14-22; 3:6; 4:16) God’s eternal plan to save the lost is realised in the thousands of local churches of his people. The church is the centrepiece of God’s grace, God’s love and God’s eternal purpose. Every baptised believer is called upon to live out the reality of this truth through commitment to the life of the church.

Commitment is more than attendance on Sunday. It’s about involvement in the mission of the church. It is about engaging in kingdom work, the most important work on earth. Only the church can share the gospel, only the church can minister in Jesus’ name. Heads of state cannot do it. Powerful governments cannot do it. The UN cannot do it. Jesus has entrusted that task to the church. The church is the only agency God has on earth for doing his will.

People Committed to the Church

  1. Paul said of Timothy, “I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 2:20-21) Timothy was genuinely committed to the Philippian Christians.
  2. The household of Stephanas “devoted themselves to the service of the saints.” (1 Corinthians 16:15) The word “devoted” gives us our English word, addict. This family was addicted to service. They were committed to the church.
  3. Priscilla and Aquila were Paul’s fellow workers in Christ Jesus, and committed members of the church. Paul says of them, “They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.” (Romans 16:3-5)
  4. Paul sent greetings to Rufus and his mother. Paul says of Rufus’ mother, “She has been a mother to me, too.” (Romans 16:13) This godly lady looked after Paul, fussed over him, prayed for him and did for him those extra special things mothers do for their children. That’s commitment to the church.
  5. Barnabas didn’t have a selfish bone in his body. He was known as “the son of encouragement.” (Acts 4:36) And when he heard of the growth of the church among the Gentiles, “he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.” (Acts 11:22-24) He was committed to the church because it belongs the Lord Jesus Christ.
  6. When Dorcas died, her departure was lamented because she “was always doing good and helping the poor.” (Acts 9:36,39) This was a woman whose life was committed to the church.

What Commitment to the Church Looks Like

Committed members of the local church always have a keen sense of awareness. They know what’s going on because they know the other Christians. They don’t live on the fringes; they are at the heart of the life of the church. What’s happening in the church is important to them. They live their life for the Lord on high alert. They don’t forget to entertain strangers knowing that such people may have been sent to them by God. They refuse to be indifferent to the needs of those in prison and those who are mistreated. It’s as if they themselves were suffering. (Hebrews 13:2-3) They see people as God sees them and so they care for “the least of these my brethren.” (Matthew 25:45) They know who “the least” are in the church – those who are easily overlooked, neglected, or forgotten- and they respond to them. The committed church member will be found serving “the least.” You don’t hear them say, “I didn’t know.” They make it their business to know.

Those who are committed to the church have never lost their sense of wonder, that sense of awe that they are loved by God – hence their commitment to the church, the body of Christ.