I was recently asked what makes a good church member. I must admit that as a pastor I find myself being asked a wide range of questions ... so much so that there is no "strange question" to me anymore. But this was the first time that I can remember ever being asked this specific question. My first response wanted to be to identify what most people would typically identify as the qualities of a good church member:
- Fully devoted follower of Jesus
- Faithful in worship, fellowship & serving in the church's ministries
- Generous giver of tithes, offerings, time and talents
- Faithful witness of the gospel to anyone and everyone that moves
- Encouraging to the pastor
I think you get the point.
However, my response was the following ...
Great church members are the ones who pray and apply Matthew 5:3 for their lives and their church ("Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."). They are the ones who pray for God to give them a pure heart so that in all circumstance they are concerned with seeing God. Because what they want to see more than anything else ... is God. They want to see God move in their lives, the church and the lives of others. Focusing on a pure heart is a biblically guaranteed way to see that happen. Focusing on negative feelings and fellowship hall gossip is a biblically guaranteed way to miss God and even be an active part of the problem.
Unity is not uniformity. Unity in the church is not something that we are to create; rather, it is a gift that God has already given in Jesus that we must actively protect. Churches that are unified in mission and vision tend to be most effective at accomplishing their mission and vision. Churches that allow the Devil to take an inch while he tries to steal a mile by stirring up discord in the church will become distracted and fractured.
As good as it is to have church members who are faithful in worship, fellowship & serving ... generous givers ... faithful witness ... encouraging to the pastor, it is great to have church members who are concerned about seeing God work. These are the members who will protect the unity of the church as well as faithfully contribute to the ministry of the church.