She was in her late seventies; I was in my early twenties. She was my “visitation partner.” I was a brand new pastor’s wife (And really green at my role!). Mrs. Wells took me under her wing and taught me how to “make a visit.” Our church was in a thriving metropolis in the Ozarks. “Population: 503” is what the sign read as you drove into town.
The “town” consisted of our small church, two other churches, a tiny school, and a post office. There weren’t any real “neighborhoods,” but people were scattered out all over those hills.
Mrs. Wells and I would load up on Monday mornings and head into the hills to invite folks to church, check on the elderly, share the gospel, and see if there were any needs we could meet. She’d done this for years and I loved watching her talk about Jesus with everyone we came in contact with.
Mrs. Wells’ form of evangelism wasn’t always “seeker-friendly” however. Once we were talking with a couple who had four little ones and the man told Mrs. Wells he didn’t need church as much as he needed his time on the lake on Sundays. That precious little white-haired lady, looked up at him with a kindly face, and boldly told him, “That’s just fine . . . you just motorboat your way right on into hell and drag those little ones down with you.”
Not exactly the type of evangelism I practice today, but I learned a lot from Mrs. Wells, and her boldness was received well because of her big heart.
Mrs. Wells was performing an important role in the body of Christ.
She was being used as a member of the body in a way I couldn’t be used, and she was investing in me by training me for future ministry.
This is Day 8 in the “Top Ten” series.
I’m running down a list of ten things to deepen your love relationship with Christ and help you to press on to spiritual maturity. If you’re just now joining me, I hope you’ll jump over and read the other posts in this series where I’m addressing the “Top Ten” (you’ll find the links embedded in the titles at the end of this post).
And then come back to join me for today’s topic:
#8 Become a vital member of the Body
One of my greatest sources of grief today is the prevalent view that the Church is no longer relevant. I understand the frustration with the Church at large. I’m frustrated as well, but the answer isn’t to walk away. The answer is to press in and live out the role in the body that God created you to fulfill:
[box]Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23–25)[/box]
The Church is in dire need today. Our voice is no longer compelling because our lives show far too little of the transforming power of the gospel. We need revival and reformation. We need to be the burning bush that draws the culture to experience God!
“A blazing bush drew Moses; a blazing Church will attract the world, so that from its midst they will hear the voice of the living God.” (Leonard Ravenhill)
But instead, Christianity provides a means for mockery.
I don’t have the answer to the problem and certainly can’t fix the Church’s reputation, but what you and I can do is strive to fulfill our role in the body of Christ. You were created to glorify God by using the gifts He’s given you to draw others to Christ. You are given the opportunity to share with others what He’s done for you and allow them to be exposed to His power through your story of His grace personally being applied to your life.
Only you can uniquely glorify God through being used in the body the way He created you to be used in filling the earth with His glory!
[box]If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts,yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable . . .” (1 Corinthians 12:17–22)[/box]
A vital role the body fulfills is the bearing of one another’s burdens. This is the “coming alongside” a brother or sister in need, whether it is a physical, emotional, or spiritual need. It includes the older women who fulfill their Titus 2 role, or the sister who confronts me in my sin.
God has given “gifts” to the Church in the form of spiritual leaders who equip us in our growth:
[box]As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ . . . (Ephesians 4:14–15, but read the whole chapter for the full context)[/box]
Without the spiritual leadership that God has placed within the Church it will be very difficult to mature. We need the biblical teaching from knowledgeable pastors, the exhortation and encouragement from fellow believers, and the life examples from those who are further along in the growth process.
The iron-sharpening of loving confrontation and accountability, combined with the soul-enriching fellowship and encouragement, plus the biblical training and exhortation that occurs within a healthy church body, is an integral element that provides the nourishment for spiritual growth.
If you aren’t experiencing this in your church, I encourage you to seek out a healthy, biblical body. If you aren’t fulfilling your role in the body, I encourage you to begin praying about what area of ministry God has for you within your church.
How are you adding to the life of your church body?
Are you functioning in the role God has for you as a member of His body?