What exactly does being the Church mean? The answer begins with examining the way we presently view the Church. So, what is your present view of the Church?
We may know that the Church is the body and bride of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27; 2 Corinthians 11:2). We may even venture as far as to say that the Church is the light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14). Some of us may even say with confidence that the Church is so powerful that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
You should say those things … but you should also be living examples of them. And, you should be part of a dynamic church where together you experience the fullness of the Christian faith. However, we have many believers who know a lot and yet are not doing a lot – including not being actively involved in a local fellowship of believers – the church.
What we “know” about the Church is only helpful if our knowing turns into our doing. People say what they think, but they do what they believe. The problem most of us run into today is we are around or are a part of a church full of thinkers instead of believers, talkers but not doers.
People may say what they think, but they do what they believe.
What you DO is more important than what your KNOW – whether you know it or not!
One piece of evidence displaying what most people really think (not believe) about the Church is found in two commonly used words: “regular attender.” It is not a good thing that we have accepted – and perhaps also tragically made it acceptable – to think that there is such a biblical thing as a “regular attender” in the Church.
Think about it. What if I suggest that “regular attended” – if they are defined as “believers” who attend church services and events without being attentive to the call of Christ on their lives every other hour of their week – should more accurately be called “irregular believers”?
Maybe my suggestion that you are an “irregular believer” stings a bit? Maybe you fall into this culturally acceptable category and you have no idea what would be different if you were a “regular believer.” What would be different if you were a seriously active and engaged member of a local Christian fellowship (church)? You might be asking yourself: Now what am I supposed to do? Do I have to do a lot more stuff? I’m barely holding it together as it is, and now you are telling me that it is not enough?
My goal is to show you that God wants you to be more than a regular attender at an average weekly gathering of mostly bored adults.
When we have a personal relationship with Jesus it should bring new freedom, a new sense of purpose, an excitement about living, and a desire to be socially involved with other believers. In the Church you should find like-minded followers of Jesus and a social network that brings a sense of fulfillment as well as an expectation that there is always more up ahead.
Trust me when I tell you that being a “regular attender” is not where you will find spiritual or relational fulfillment. A distant relationship does not bring the same depth of joy, fullness of intimacy, or fulfillment of heart as oneness with a lover brings. It is time to stop dating the idea of following Christ and commit to it. It is time to stop giving lip service to what you believe and yet not allowing what you believe to impact every aspect of your life. It is time to stop being a “regular attender” which is a “irregular believer” and embrace the fullness of the Christian faith and the Church, the Body of Christ.
With “regular attenders” making up a greater percentage of the Church than passionately engaged followers, it is no wonder church is the one place most people would never look to find the life that they have always wanted. “Regular attenders” don’t typically gather with gladness and sincerity of heart (Acts 2:46). They don’t have favour with all the people (Acts 2:47). They don’t devote themselves to sound teaching or pursue relationships with people from house to house (Acts 2:42). They don’t contribute to or experience the overwhelming goodness of life found in a truly committed and involved relationship with Jesus and with His people – the community of faith, the Church.
The divine call on the life of all believers is to engage wholeheartedly in everything God intends – then we will live as God intends us to live, we will be as alive as God intends us to be. Soon, we will see that Christ is still doing today exactly what He was doing when He physically walked on the earth: creating stories that gather crowds and keep disciples up late at night revelling in the hope and awe that life with a good and loving God and community of faith provides.
But, this is not possible if you are just a “regular attender” which makes you a “irregular believer.” None of this is possible if your Christian faith only impacts 2 to 3 hours on Sunday and does not touch the rest of your life hour by hour throughout the week.