After self-examination, the second direction of growth while being a follower is “out right,” fellowship. You must learn how to reach out to your family. Fellowship requires attendance, involvement, and belonging.
The proud father asked the nurse to dim the lights as she left the room. ”We would like to have some time alone to bond with our new baby,” he explained. Moments later the phone rang. Frustrated, the father picked up the receiver and blurted out, “I can’t talk right now! We’re in bondage!”
In much the same way, your church family requires a little “bondage” time with you.
In Ephesians 4:15-16, the Holy Spirit describes the church as a growing body and Christ as its head. “...grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ -- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
Consider the following phrases from this important passage.
“...the whole body, joined and knit together....” - Being included is the first and most important part of developing belonging. Without inclusion, members die. What are you doing to be included in the growing body of Christ? The previous section provided a detailed discussion of involvement. You are encouraged to review that material.
“...by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share....” - This second phrase shows belonging through investment. Consider the words, “supplies” and “every part does its share.”
A lazy freeloader entered the police station to register a complaint. “I want to find out who owns the house I live in,” said the man boldly. “To whom do you pay rent?” asked the sheriff. “Ain’t never paid none!” said the man. “Well, how long have you been living there?” the surprised officer asked. “Goin’ on about three years.” “I don’t understand,” said the confused policeman. “What is your complaint?” “Well,” said the freeloader, “the roof has started to leak and if the owner doesn’t fix it quick, I’m gonna move!”
Much like the freeloader above, some Christians demand all the benefits of belonging yet refuse to make any lasting investment in return. Because of their lack of commitment, when problems arise, these members are the first to complain or the first to leave. What investment have you made in the Lord’s church?
“...causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” - The final phrase of this important passage points to accountability. Notice the words “growth” and “edifying.” Both of these words suggest positive change brought on by the influence of the rest of the body. Christians are designed to be interdependent and accountable to each other. Who in the body of Christ knows you well enough to hold you accountable? (Study Galatians 6:1)
God not only gave us a body to which we must be accountable, He also provided structure within the arrangement of that body. (Study I Corinthians 12:12-26.) Some body parts monitor health better than others. Christ is the head of the body and, like the brain; He is the member to whom we are most accountable. Elders of the church are like the heart. Taking orders from the Head, the elders are also called upon to monitor the body’s health and are given special influence and authority to care for each member’s wellbeing.
In I Peter 5:2-4, the Holy Spirit describes the work of an elder in this way. ”Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”
Elders are intended to represent the “Chief Shepherd” by overseeing the flock (the body) and by setting an example for the flock to follow. For belonging to be realized, you must be accountable to the Head, to other members, and to the elders.
Belonging can best be measured by your level of inclusion, investment, and accountability. Do you belong?
Do not wait for an invitation. As part of the family, you belong whether you are invited to participate or not.
Ask yourself, "What is the best way to help others build belonging?" then do it for you.
Belonging requires common ground. Join yourself to people in the church with whom you share common interests.
Belonging is all about finding a place to fit. Allow your God-given talents and interests to create a place for you in the church.
Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Work hard to develop a preference for your family.
“...grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ - from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
What does the phrase “joined and knit together” tell you about God’s view of belonging?
What does the phrase “edifying of itself in love” mean?
In this section, you have been given several keys to building belonging such as inclusion, investment, and accountability. List three more keys that can lead to a sense of belonging.
One group tried to solve their poor attendance problem by posting this notice: “CLUB MEETING TO ELECT NEW OFFICERS THIS TUESDAY - YOU NEED NOT BE PRESENT TO WIN.” Some congregations try to encourage belonging and church attendance in the same way. They hope that giving leadership positions to folks who are not regular in attendance will bring them to church more often. Is this an effective approach?
Missed the beginning of the "Keep the Faith!" series? Check it out!
Keep the Faith! Being an Observer
Also, don't forget the first five lessons in the "Being a Follower" section!
Keep the Faith! Being a Follower 1a: Study
Want to continue this study? Go to:
Keep the Faith! Being a Follower 3a: Being Like Him
3b: Being in Awe of Him
3c: Express Feelings for Him
4a: Being a Friend
4b: Being a Witness
4c: Providing a Message
Keep the Faith! Being a Leader - Introduction
Conclusion: Becoming a Complete Christian
Back to Top of "Keep the Faith! Being a Follower 2c"
Back to The Church Page
Back to Home Page