Are you a church member or a church customer?

So many people treat the precious, blood-bought church like a cheap discount store. “The church’s job is to serve me, and if it doesn’t, well, we’re out of here.” How often have I heard someone say, “That congregation did nothing for me.”

This attitude is the absolute opposite of the Lord’s will. He calls on us to serve, not be served:

“It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 26:26-28).

“You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I, then, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet” (John 13:13,14).

The very ethos of Christianity is not to be served, but to serve. If one were to declare that it was the responsibility of others to serve him, note well, he did not miss the main point of serving God, he missed serving God entirely!

To be Christian is to serve; not to serve is to fail to be Christian. There is no third choice!

Are you an integral part of a congregation of God’s people? I am not asking necessarily if you are delivering sermons or leading songs, but I am asking, do you make a difference in your congregation, consistently regularly, definitely?

Churches do not make a difference in their community by accident. Churches do not help the poor and hurting by accident; Churches do not raise faithful children by accident.

Someone, somewhere, must serve!

We serve the weak, the sinner, the little child, the poor, the missionary, the elderly; we serve, or we’re not living the life for which Christ called us!

The church is the vehicle through which we serve the world. When we serve as members of a church, Christ gets the credit, not us; when we serve as members of the church, the Lord is given the glory, not us (Matthew 5:16).

So I ask it again, beloved: Are you a church member, or a church customer?

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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