Hints, gentle answers, and subtlety can only go so far.
I’ve discovered the best thing we can do is speak the truth in love. As a God-called communicator, I’m responsible for loving others enough to plainly and sometimes bluntly – tell them what they need to hear in the deepest part of their soul.
What follows is a brief clarification of who’s responsible for what in the Christian’s life.
1) My CHURCH IS A PLACE TO GATHER WEEKLY FOR WORSHIP, BUT IT’S UP TO ME WHETHER I WILL EXPERIENCE THE PRESENCE OF GOD (JOHN 4:24).
When we come together on Sundays, it’s for corporate worship. We gather together at the insistence of God (see Hebrews 10:24-25). The need for a community of Christ-like believers is greater than we could ever imagine. But make no mistake, we come together for worship. Our worship services contain music, a message, giving, and prayer times. These are all worshipful forms of how we should connect with God.
As a Lead Pastor, it’s my responsibility ensure that our staff provides you with an excellent worship experience. But your responsibility is to show up and experience His presence.
2) My CHURCH IS A FAMILY I CAN BELONG TO, BUT IT’S UP TO ME TO DEVELOP FRIENDSHIPS (PROVERBS 18:24).
The New Testament repeatedly uses the phrase one another. The building of relationships is something we must be intentional about in the family of God. You have a pool of like-minded believers at your disposal, but you have to get to know one another. I can remember a time when we all thought fellowship dinners were the solution. My heart was saddened to see that people would show up, eat, and only interact with their family or the people they already knew. Some people still do that every Sunday. They arrive just in time for service or a few minutes late, and as soon as the final amen is said, they hit the door.
You need friends like you need the marrow in your bones. But you must be friendly and build those relationships.
3) My CHURCH IS A PLACE WHERE GIFTED TEACHERS WILL EXPLAIN THE BIBLE AND HOW I CAN APPLY IT TO MY LIFE, BUT IT’S UP TO ME TO ALIGN MY LIFE WITH GOD’S TRUTH (JAMES 1:22).
God really has gifted His Church with people who can inform and inspire us to greater godly living. Sadly, many church attendees live as though they don’t care. If the only time you ever read Scripture or interact with the Bible is in Sunday services, your life is probably a mess. Unbelievably, this usually describes the person who complains, “I’m not being fed.”
As the main voice of our church’s spoken ministry, it’s up to me to prayerfully communicate God’s Word and God’s will to you. But it’s up to you to line up your life with God’s truth.
4) My CHURCH IS A PLACE WHERE I CAN USE MY GIFTS, PASSION, SKILLS, PERSONALITY, AND LIFE EXPERIENCES TO SERVE, BUT IT’S UP TO ME TO BECOME A SERVANT (MATTHEW 20:28).
Initially, we all show up as those in need. The truth is we’re always going to be somewhat needy. But those who are growing the most aren’t expecting all of their needs to be met every Sunday. Our local church makes serving one another and our community a priority. What I’ve discovered is those who are connected to a serve team become vested members of our church. They complain the least and work the hardest. When you can lay aside your own preferences and use your gifts to serve others, you’re in the growth process of becoming a servant.
Our church staff will serve you by helping you use your gifts in an appropriate place of serving. But you are responsible for learning what it means to become a servant.
5) My CHURCH IS A PLACE WHERE I HAVE THE CHANCE TO CHANGE THE WORLD BY FULFILLING THE GREAT COMMISSION, BUT IT’S UP TO ME TO ACTUALLY BECOME A PERSON OF IMPACT (ROMANS 10:14).
It’s incredible to me how people without Christ can cope at all without a church family. I refuse to do life without my church family. But let’s be clear. The Church does not exist to meet all of my needs and preferences. Before He ascended, Jesus gave His followers a great commission. Our connection with one another is beneficial on many levels, but our greatest reason for coming together is the continuity of His message. We pool our resources and energies, and He multiplies our efforts to reach around our world with His power for salvation. Yet, this is about more than praying for and giving to missionary endeavors outside of our country. Those are a great start, but they do not get us off the hook for being a witness to the people in our world.
Our Church lives to love people, grow Christians, and multiply leaders. But it’s your responsibility to impact your world.
The ALL-CAPS portion of this outline’s main points were originally written by Pastor Brian Moss in 2014. His permission was granted to use his outline, but the text below each point are my thoughts. I’m grateful for other leaders in the Body of Christ that help me express my heart.