Last Wednesday, I wrote a post listing 10 ways you could show your love for the church. (Read that post HERE.) Today, I want to add a few more things to the list...
11. Encourage. Tell your sisters and brothers when you see evidence of growth and the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. When you notice a brother struggling, come alongside and speak truth and grace into his situation. Remind him of the gospel and of the sufficiency of Christ. Speak encouragement.
12. Connect. Don't run out of the building the second the benediction is given - take a few minutes to speak to the people around you. Are the men meeting Saturday morning to pray? Well, dude, make plans to be there! A new family visited your church this morning? Say Hello. Invite them to lunch. (Even if they decline your invitation, I assure you they will appreciate your having asked.) Sarah has a doctor's appointment Tuesday morning? Ask her if she'd like a ride or if she'd like just having someone to go along with her. One of the teenagers performing in a school band concert? Attend the performance! Take advantage of opportunities to connect with your brothers and sisters.
13. Be prepared. At Grace right now, Brother Billy is preaching through Romans on Sunday mornings. Currently, we're in Romans 10. When we finish Romans 10, we'll move on to Romans 11. Since we know the passage Bro. Billy will be preaching from, members can read the chapter before Sunday morning to prepare our minds for worship. Some churches list next week's hymns in this week's bulletin - take time during the week to look over and listen to the hymns so that you'll be ready to SING with gusto on Sunday morning!
14. Support your church financially. Give joyfully and generously from what the Lord has given you. Tithing is not old-fashioned, Old Testament stuff - rather, for Christians, tithing is, as Randy Alcorn puts it, the "training wheels" of our giving. Tithing is the starting place, where we learn the art of giving until we become fluent enough to give even more.
15. Serve. Some folks think "Christian ministry" means street evangelism, teaching Bible school, or spending summers on the mission field. But Christian ministry can be as simple and down-to-earth as weeding the flower beds or taking the trash out each week. Volunteer to serve in the church nursery, or sign-up to bring doughnuts and juice for the fellowship time between Sunday school and worship. Fold bulletins. Write notes welcoming new visitors. Greet people as they arrive for worship. As my boys would say, "get some skin in the game" - find a practical way that you can serve the local body of Christ.
16. Don't trash talk the Bride of Christ. This seems like a no-brainer, yet I am amazed at how often I hear people bad-mouthing their church, their preacher, their session, their music leader, etc. Imagine the reaction of a powerful, jealous king if someone in his court off-handedly made derogatory remarks about his queen. Well, there is just such a King, and He has a Queen whom He loves dearly...and this King hears every single word you speak. The church is Christ's Beloved. Yes, He knows her flaws - He died for them - but He doesn't look favorably on those who gossip about her or who attempt to smear her reputation.
These are some of my thoughts on ways to love your local church. What would you add to the list?
2 days ago