By Zach Simons
I am on the upper edge of a generation notorious for being noncommittal. The joke is that the only thing we’ll commit to is not committing ourselves to anything, but even that commitment is too much. So, “yes” becomes the new “maybe” which leaves us feeling much safer and leaves our options open. While it’s easy to poke fun at others in this regard, we all sometimes find this tendency in ourselves as ones who are influenced by a broader culture of individualism. And without knowing why, we can find it hard to truly link ourselves in any meaningful sense to other brothers and sisters in Christ. But in scripture we see something radical and unique about the commitment that followers of Christ make to one another in the church.
Paul wrote these words to the Philippians:
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:4-6)
And again to the Corinthians:
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)
Church participation, if a church is not careful, can be drastically reduced to religious consumerism, instead of a called-out people who, being radically transformed by the gospel, live their lives deeply committed to partnering with others as an integral part of the body of Christ. The result is that the local church becomes unable to affect the change so desperately needed in our communities. We are grateful for Four Oaks Midtown, however, because you are a people who grasp this well. It’s a continual blessing and encouragement. Yet we, like all others, are not immune from the influence of the culture we live in and are prone to drift from the beautiful picture of transforming community we find in scripture.
Next month we will be offering a two-night course called our Engage membership course. This class takes an in-depth look at why membership is important, what the church believes, and how that shapes our ministry. It is designed to not only inform about the church, but teach what it means to BE the church. And we’d love to include you in the discussion. You’ll find details and a form to sign up below, as well as a host of other ways to link arms with the followers of Christ that God has situated you among.