I gained more in my time lost at Weekender than I could have imagined. The food is delicious (and free) and didn’t require my hands to make it. The staff members being placed at each table meant that I had an open forum for asking questions and learning more about their families. Hearing from several of the pastors who spoke in-depth concerning the history, vision, and ministries of the church provided much needed backstory to what I was experiencing each week. Also, the opportunity to shadow a serve team during a worship gathering allowed me to see how my experiences and gifts could be used as a part of a team to serve the people of the church in a hands-on way. Most importantly, the Weekender gave me:
A call to commit.
In today’s culture, one glaring distinctive is our non-committal attitude. We see this play out in our relationships and through a lack of longevity in the workplace. Some health professions are even creating bridge programs for us due to a major deficient in qualified candidates to fill needed vacancies. This is often attributed to our inability to commit to the years of required academic and clinical training needed. Let’s face it; for many of us, the idea of sticking with a job for twenty years seems like a prison sentence.
There appears to be a direct correlation between our inability to commit and our lack of covenanting with a local church body through membership. Similarly to purchases we make online, we want to know all of our options while keeping that one item we like in the shopping cart. In the Spangler home we have six children. Can you stop a minute and imagine the amount of indecisiveness that comes from that brood. From yogurt toppings and athletic interests to the daily dilemma over clothing choices (sweet, sweet teenage girls), the choices and lack of motivation to commit will make you feel like you are presiding over a meeting of the United Nations.
While there is humor to be found here, there are also real dangers that believers face when failing to be connected to the body of a local church. One of those dangers comes directly from our second sermon in the Dysfunctional Church series. Andrew shared, “War over sin is the mark of a believer. Apathy over sin marks an unbeliever.” Warring against our sin was never something we were meant to do alone. While the victory seems personal, sanctification in our lives equates to a healthier local body.
There are three key ways I have personally experienced the health of the body through my own commitment:
1. Being Held Accountable
Through covenanting with the body, we are not only connected to those sitting around us during services, we are also being shepherded by our group leader and appointed elder.
This idea of being watched, cared for, and brought back into the fold is one of great comfort for us, especially as we know Jesus to be our perfect Shepherd. John 10:10-18
2. Displaying Love for the Church
Through covenanting with the body, we are displaying our counter-cultural commitment to Christ and His people.
Displaying our freedom by choosing to commit to an imperfect church and its imperfect people points beautifully to our commitment to our perfect God.
3. Being Shepherded
Through covenanting with the body, we are allowing our elders faithfully shepherd us.
Living life in a fallen, foreign world is riddled with difficulty, illness, addiction, and ultimately death. Our elders have been called to shepherd us using Christ’s example as we climb the mountains and walk through the valleys. Our commitment to our church body allows them to do this faithfully and rightly.
– Kori Spangler (Mercy Hill Member)
Click here for more information or to sign up for the August Weekender.