Now, then, what do you do after you pray? Well, let me rephrase that because there should never be a time after you pray. Prayer must be ongoing. For those of you who like alliteration, I believe that passionate persistent prayer brings peace, power, and praise. Jesus commanded us to be persistent in our prayer. He demonstrated what passion in prayer was like. And the promises of God’s Word are that when we do this, God sends us peace about the direction we are to go, power to accomplish the task, and both lead to praise pouring from our hearts to the ears of God. So, what’s next? Once you have prayed, poured out your heart to God, confessed your sin and turned from your sinful ways to God, what do you do? My experience is that when I go through these times of personal renewal, God calls me to a deeper commitment to Him. I believe that we need church members to rethink their commitment to God first and foremost but also to His church. I have written extensively about our relationship with God, so let me deal with what it means to make a commitment to the church. That leads me to a little book by Thom Rainer entitled, I Am a Church Member. Following is a synopsis of the book. Give it a read, and let me know what you think.
I Will Be a Functioning Church Member
I am a church member. I like the metaphor of membership. It’s not a membership as in a civic organization or a country club. It’s the kind of membership given to us in 1 Cor. 12: “Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it” (1 Cor. 12:27). Because I am a member of the body of Christ, I must be a functioning member, whether I am an “eye,” an “ear,” or a “hand.” As a functioning member I will give. I will serve. I will minister. I will evangelize. I will study. I will seek to be a blessing to others. I will remember that “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Cor. 12:26).
I Will Be a Unifying Church Member
I am a church member. I will seek to be a source of unity in my church. I know there are no perfect pastors, staff, or other church members. But neither am I. I will not be a source of gossip or dissension. One of the greatest contributions I can make is to do all I can in God’s power to help keep the church in unity for the sake of the gospel.
I Will Not Let My Church Be about My Preferences and Desires
I am a church member. I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires. That is self-serving. I am a member in this church to serve others and to serve Christ. My Savior went to a cross for me. I can deal with any inconveniences and matters that aren’t my preference or style.
I Will Pray for My Church Leaders
I am a church member. I will pray for my pastor every day, I understand that the pastor’s work is never ending. His days are filled with numerous demands that bring emotional highs and lows. He must deal with critics. He must be a good husband and father. Because my pastor cannot do all things in his own power, I will pray for his strength and wisdom daily.
I Will Lead My Family to Be Healthy Church Members
I am a church member. I will lead my family to be good members of this church as well. We will pray together for our church. We will worship together in our church. We will serve together in our church. And we will ask Christ to help us fall deeper in love with this church because He gave His life for her.
I Will Treasure Church Membership as a Gift
I am a church member. This membership is a gift. When I received the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, I became a part of the body of Christ. I soon thereafter identified with a local body and was baptized. And now I am humbled and honored to serve and to love others in our church. I pray that I will never take my membership for granted but see it as a gift and an opportunity to serve others and to be a part of something much greater than anyone person or member.