Congratulations! You joined a church. Now what? While every church has a different procedure for church membership, there are some simple things you can do to honor God in your decision. These items apply to everyone.
First, read your Bible every day. A national research study revealed something remarkable. The number one way people grow spiritually is daily Bible reading, but only 35% of active churchgoers study their Bibles at least once a week. Ask anyone if they want to be healthier spiritually, and the likely answer is “yes.” This study proves reading your Bible is the best path to spiritual maturity. So the best next step is to open your Bible daily and read God’s Word.
Second, be active in weekly worship attendance. Another recent study showed that during the pandemic of 2020, the only group who improved in mental health were those who attended church weekly. While church attendance will not solve all your problems, the regular pattern and rhythm of being with the fellowship of the saints are good for your heart, mind, and soul.
Third, follow your church leadership. Most pastors and church leaders choose a life of sacrifice to serve others. They want to serve you! Blind loyalty is dangerous; only Jesus deserves unfettered commitment. But you should start with a posture of trust with your leadership.
Fourth, encourage people around you. Encouragement is one of the most powerful and contagious forces in the church. The problem is discouragement is an even more powerful and infectious force. When you are an encourager, you can change the mood of just about everyone around you.
Fifth, invite others to church. Believers have the responsibility to invite others into the body of Christ. But this responsibility is a joy. Seeing others light up as they find community is exciting and fulfilling.
Sixth, share Jesus with people in your life. Inviting other people to church shows you love the body of Christ. But you should also show your love of Jesus by sharing Him with others. I realize sharing your faith — often called evangelism — is a struggle for many believers. But it doesn’t have to be. Live out your joy in Christ, and others will ask you about it. When they do, tell them about your salvation experience.
Seventh, join a group. Your church will get bigger by getting smaller. People will stay and grow in a church if they are part of a group. It is hard to connect personally with others in a worship gathering. When you are involved in a small group, you build relationships in a way that is not possible through the worship experience.
Eighth, pray every day for the ministries of your church and your church leaders. A few church members often remind me about their daily prayers. One of the most encouraging things people say to me is, “I’m praying for you every day.” I’ll never forget one church member showing me his prayer journal. He made entries daily. My name was listed in every entry.
Ninth, start giving regularly. This commitment need not be controversial. If you believe in the mission of your church, then you should give to it. Weekly or monthly giving is one of the best ways to invest in eternity. Frankly, you don’t give to your church. You give to God through your church. God does not need your money, but He does want your heart. Matthew’s Gospel makes it clear: “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Where your money goes is where your heart goes.
Tenth, volunteer in a needed area of the church. Ask your church leaders about an area of need. Even if this area is not your preference or expertise, God will honor your desire to fill in a gap.
Church membership is an essential part of following Christ. Enjoy the fellowship of believers at your church. Commit to God’s mission with them. With your church, be an active agent for good in your community.
Originally published at Church Answers.
Sam Rainer is president of Church Answers and pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Church in Florida.