Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Ecclesiastical Expectations: What does your church expect from you?

Last month I posed the question, "What do you expect from the church?" You can read people's responses here in a previous post. They suggested finding a safe place to worship, serve the community, fellowship together, serve others, and teach and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

This month we will flip the script and ask the question: "What does your church expect from you?" Notice we're asking about "your church" because we are assuming you are a member of that particular church. If you ask most churches about expectations from non-members, they would say they don't expect anything from them. Expect maybe the opportunity to share the gospel with them. But otherwise, there are usually no strings attached.

Your church expects you to see you on Sunday

This is probably the primary expectation of your church. Because basically if you don't show up, there is no church. The church is the people. If there are no people, then you have no church. Simple as that. For most churches, the Sunday morning worship service is the main meeting each week. There are usually several other opportunities during the week to meet, fellowship, study and serve with other Christians, but the Sunday meeting is the main meeting.

Your church expects you to grow spiritually 

While you are probably "fed" the word of God each week by attending the Sunday morning worship service at your church, you should also be "feed" yourself from the Bible. Think of it this way. You might go out occasionally to a restaurant and eat. But most days, you are home and fix your own food. The Sunday morning sermon or message is like eating out. It's good food. But you need to eat more than once a week. Same with your spiritual life. Your church expects that you have a daily intake of reading, meditating, and studying God's word, the Bible. It is this steady intake of spiritual "food" that will help you grow spiritually.  

Your church expects you to volunteer

If your church has a building or a membership of over 3 people, there need to be people who will serve. The days are long gone when the "super pastor" did everything in the church. It's not possible and it's not healthy either for one man to do everything needed to operate a church. People are needed to lead worship, watch children, clean the building, lead groups, and much more. According to 1 Corinthians, the church is like a body and everyone has a part just like the body has different parts and purposes. If you aren't serving somewhere in your church, then your church is missing a vital part because every part is important. 

Your church expects you to give

This may be a hard topic to talk about, but it is important. Your local church depends on your donations to operate. There is no other source of income for a church but from its members. Funds are needed for staff, building operations, ministries, and missions. Good leadership ensures that those funds are smartly stewarded. Your personal giving gives insight into your priorities. Jesus says that where a man's treasure is, there his heart will be as well. 

Your church expects you to act like Jesus

Finally, your church expects you to live and act more like Jesus and less like the world. When you became a Christian, you declared that Jesus Christ was your Lord. In other words, you committed to living according to his teachings and principles in the New Testament. Your life should reflect this commitment. Much damage to the church has been done by people claiming to follow Christ, but showing no lifestyle change from allowing Him to live within them. 

Where I worship, our mission statement is "helping people journey with Jesus." We chose that because we know that living the Christian life, and following Jesus is a process. It happens over time. It is a journey we invite people to take with us. The expectations listed above don't happen overnight. They will take time to put into practice. But someone seeking to lean into the church and the Christian life should display more and more of these expectations. As always, I welcome your feedback and comments. 

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