Watching God work and move never gets old! Last weekend we extended an invitation for people to be ‘counted in” and had 75 total decisions for the 3 services! 54 made membership decisions, 18 want to be baptized, and 3 need to be contacted to see which decision they specifically came for. (35 people came forward publicly at Invitation time out of these 75!) We also had over 360 people commit to 5 key Compassion ministry areas at Whitewater! (‘Labor for your Neighbor’ Day, Respite Nite for Special Needs families, May Clothing Drive, WCCC Food Pantry, and WCCC Prison Ministry.)
We absolutely praise God for the awesome steps that people took last weekend and the privilege of being a part of God’s church here. As I drove home, I said again to myself – ‘There’s nothing like the church when it’s working right!’ Agree?! Now the real work begins as the rest of us help these folks grow in fuller devotion to Him. I told our newest members that they could “count on us” to be there for them!
For those who are wondering why membership is so important (and for those who are still considering it), let me give you 5 reasons why every believer needs to be committed and active in a local church:
1. A church family identifies you as a genuine believer.
I can’t claim to be following Christ if I’m not committed to any specific group of disciples. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35).
When we come together in love as a church family from different backgrounds, race and social status, it is a witness to the world. No one believer can be the Body of Christ on his own. We need others to become who God has made us to be. Someone who resists membership is saying “I wanna be in the Army, but I don’t want to be assigned to a platoon. Or it’s someone saying, “I want to play in the NFL, but I don’t want to be drafted to any certain team.”
2. A church family moves you out of self-centered isolation.
The local church is the classroom for learning how to get along in God’s family. It is a lab for practicing unselfish love. As a participating member you learn to care about others and share the experiences of others: “If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part of our body is honored, all the other parts share its honor” (1 Corinthians 12:26).Only in regular contact with ordinary, imperfect believers can we learn real fellowship and experience the New Testament truth of being connected and dependent on each other.
3. A church family helps you develop spiritual muscle.
No one will ever grow to maturity just by attending worship services and being a passive spectator. Only participation in the full life of a local church builds spiritual muscle. The Bible says, “As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love” (Ephesians 4:16).
Over fifty times in the New Testament the phrases “one another” or “each other” are used. We are commanded to love each other, pray for each other, encourage each other, greet each other, serve each other, teach each other, accept each other, honor each other, bear each other’s burdens, forgive each other, submit to each other, be devoted to each other and many other mutual tasks. This is biblical membership! These are the “family responsibilities” that God expects every believer to fulfill through a local fellowship. I would ask those who just attend our services at Whitewater, “Who are you doing these with?”
4. The Body of Christ needs you.
God has a unique role for every believer to play in his family. This is called your “ministry,” and God has gifted you for this assignment. 1 Corinthians 12:7 says: “A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.” The local church is the place God designed for his children to discover, develop and deploy their gifts.
5. A church family will help keep you from backsliding.
None of us are immune to temptation. Given the right situation, you and I are capable of any sin. God knows this, so he has assigned us as individuals the responsibility of keeping each other on track. The Bible says, “Encourage one another daily … so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Hebrews 3:13).
A related benefit of a local church is that it also provides the spiritual protection of
Satan loves detached believers – unplugged from the life of the Body, isolated from God’s
The Christian life is more than just commitment to Christ; it includes a commitment to other Christians. To the Christians in Macedonia, Paul said, “First they gave themselves to the Lord; and then, by God’s will, they gave themselves to us as well.” That’s why membership is so important! For those who still haven’t join, the offer is still open to “Count you in!” Whatcha waiting for!?
One thing that will help new members, as well as those contemplating it, is our Experiencing Christ Class. This class is normally conducted over 6 weekends, but we are now offering this in a one day format on Saturday, May 8th from 8:00 to 1:00pm. This foundational class covers key topics of salvation, communion & leadership. This is a great opportunity for you to learn, grow and connect! To sign up, please RSVP to James Hansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign-up at www.whitewatercrossing2.org so that adequate supplies and snacks are prepared.
See you this weekend as we continue our month-long series on Compassionate Christianity. We will focus on the issue of Justice and Titus Chapman will be leading worship (which is always exciting!). This is the Sunday that we ‘Labor for our neighbor,’ so grab a quick lunch and meet us at the building at 2pm for afternoon assignments. With the Rumpke truck and equipment we are renting, we plan to do this rain or shine (there is a 50% chance of rain), so be ready as we “Love our neighbor as ourself” in a practical way.
Counting on you…