- The church doesn’t belong to any one of us (or even all of us). Christ is both the head (Col. 1:18) and the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20) of the church. It’s His church. Nobody – nobody – in a local church can legitimately say, “This is my church.” Christ is the one who purchased the church with His blood (Acts 20:28). “Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ” (Eph. 5:23-24).
- The church is not dependent on any of us for survival. Some folks think their church will die without them, but God has a way of teaching us otherwise. The church is “nourished” by Christ (Eph. 5:29).
- Each person in the congregation matters; including those who seem less significant in the congregation. “On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it” (1 Cor. 12:22-24). We should support, empower, and trust other church members (this is especially true for the leaders, Eph. 4:11-13).
- If every member is a clone, the church won’t be healthy. “If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?” (1 Cor. 12:15-17).
- No member is supposed to be doing everything. Some church members hold many positions, and there is a tendency to think of themselves as more faithful. It’s not biblical that any one member plays all the parts that God intends others to play. “But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?” (1 Cor. 12:18-19).
- Members must never leave a body lightly. If one part of the body disappears, the entire body is weakened. There are times when it is right to leave one congregation to join another. Prayer, wisdom, and godliness are essential in this kind of transition for the body’s good.
Chuck Lawless (edited by Mark Johnson)