Today we’ll conclude our look at the “Three C’s of Church Involvement.” So far we’ve talked about the first two C’s: “celebrate” and “connect.” “Celebrate” has to do with being involved in corporate worship, and “connect” has to do with developing deep and meaningful relationships with other church members.
We now come to the third “C,” which is “contribute.” With this “C,” what we have in mind are two primary ways of contributing back to the church body of which we are a part: (1) giving, and (2) serving. So, first, we believe that every member of Calvary (and any church, for that matter) should contribute back to the local church in the area of giving. Furthermore, as a rule of thumb, we encourage church members to use the Old Testament example of tithing as a model for giving through our church. What this means for Melisa and myself is that we give 10% (the word “tithe” means “a tenth”) of our income to the general operating budget of our church. By doing so, we’re giving toward all the ministries and missions that our church has decided to fund. Throughout the year, we also give over and above our tithe to other causes. Every church member should contribute by giving.
The second area that every church member should be involved in when in comes to contributing back to the church is service. Just as the church needs the generous financial contributions of its members if it is to function properly, so too the church needs the faithful service of every member if it is to function properly. If we’re going to minister to one another for the purpose of edification and if we’re going to be on mission toward the world for the purpose of gospel advance, it’s going to require everyone doing their part in serving each other and the world. If you don’t have a way that you currently serve, please talk to me or one of the other pastors and we will gladly help you.
Let me add one more note on giving and serving. Some people might argue that faithfully contributing to the church only requires one of the two—either giving or serving. So, some might not give to the church, but they are willing to serve in the nursery or be a greater, etc. On the other hand, some people might contribute to the church through giving, but do not feel the need to contribute through serving. My response to this is that both giving and serving are needed from every church member if the church is going to function as it should. Remember also that those who skip out on either serving or giving are missing the blessings that come from doing both. More importantly, the New Testament demands that all believers engage in both activities. When Paul says in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each one must give,” this applies to every Christian. It is a sin for a Christian to not contribute through giving. Likewise, when Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:7, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good,” he’s saying that every believer has been given spiritual gifts, and that every believer is meant to serve the church body with those gifts for the common good of the church. It is a sin for a Christian to not contribute through serving. So, every believer giving, and every believer serving—this is the pattern for a New Testament church. And if we want to be healthy, faithful, fully involved church members, this will be the pattern of our lives as well. Thank you to all those faithful Calvary members out there who contribute so helpfully in these ways.
Blessings in Christ,
This is a series we do at the beginning of the year as a way to recalibrate and refocus on our mission of connecting people to Jesus and his church.
1. “Vision 2014: Connecting People to Jesus & His Church,” Matthew 28:19-20 (1.5.14) Download mp3
2. “Local & Global Mission: The Lord’s Strategy for Connecting People to Jesus & His Church, Part 1,” Luke 10:1-12 (1.12.14) Download mp3
3. “Local & Global Mission: The Lord’s Strategy for Connecting People to Jesus & His Church, Part 2,” Luke 10:1-12 (1.19.14) Download mp3
4. “Family Mission: Connecting Our Families to Jesus & His Church,” Psalm 78:1-8 (1.26.14) Download mp3
Dear Church Family,
Last month I wrote to you about the first “C” of church involvement—celebrate. This month I want to write about the second “C”—connect. If we want to position ourselves to grow as healthy church members, being involved in corporate worship services (which is what we mean by “celebrate”) is not enough. We also need to make sure that we are connecting with other brother and sister church members in deep, meaningful relationships. I’m convinced that this kind of “connecting” can only be achieved when we involve ourselves in a small group of believers for the purpose of fellowship and accountability.
We all know that it’s possible for a person to be very faithful in attending worship services (celebrate), but never really build deep and meaningful friendships with others in the church (connect). This is due to the fact that in a large group worship service it’s almost impossible to have a conversation with people that goes deeper than surface level. In the worship service, all we might have time for is a quick chat about the weather. This is where small groups like Sunday school classes come in to play. A Sunday school class is an environment that is conducive to deeper conversation, and deeper conversation leads to fellowship, and fellowship forms friendship. I believe this is what it means when it says of the early church that they “attended the temple together and broke bread in their homes” (Acts 2:47). They met in a large group (“the temple”), and in small groups similar to our Sunday school classes (“in their homes”). Both large group celebration and small group connection was needed in the early church and both are needed today as well.
If you are already a regular member of a Sunday school class, I would encourage you to continue to use that class as an opportunity to build deep relationships. I would also encourage you to extend those friendships to times and places outside the Sunday school hour and church facility. Make it a point to go out to eat or grab coffee with someone new in 2014. Have a few families over to your home for dinner. Build a wide and strong web of relationships within the church. If you are not currently a regular member of a Sunday school class, I would encourage you to join one, and make 2014 the year when you begin to connect more deeply with the people you worship with on a regular basis. As I often say, no Christian is meant to live out the Christian life alone. But the only way to make sure there are Christian friends walking beside you is to be intentional about making those friendships yourself. I thank God for all the deep relationships with Calvary members that Melisa and I have. I thank God that we are not having to live the Christian life alone, and I pray that you can say the same. Let’s connect with one another, and let’s live the Christian life together!