At Welsh Baptist Church we have a membership covenant. In any church covenant the members have obligations to each other beyond what is expected of those who simply attend. In my new adventures in blogging, I would like to use this space, initially to explore some of the specific obligations that we have to each other as a covenant community. Many of these, you will find, are general Christian obligations and apply regardless of one’s membership status.
One thing our faith family covenants to do is “to regularly participate in the life of Welsh Baptist Church by attending weekly services” and “engaging in biblical community.” Mark Dever in The Church: The Gospel Made Visible says, “The most fundamental duty Christians have in relation to the congregation is the duty regularly to attend gatherings of the congregation.”
Thabiti M. Anyabwile in What Is A Healthy Church Member? says that regular attendance is “the first most important ministry of every Christian in the local church. Being present, being known, and being active are the only ways to make Christian love possible.” In Acts we see that the early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42, ESV). Likewise, we are admonished in Hebrews to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV).
The most obvious place that we devote ourselves to teaching is at our weekly Sunday service. Attendance on Sunday morning should be a top priority of any covenant member. Being a regular part of such a gathering should be a priority for every Christian. While our Sunday morning worship gatherings are important for teaching, fellowship and praying together, we believe our small groups are the best environment for encouraging one another. In order to encourage one another we must allow ourselves to become real and vulnerable with other like-minded followers of Jesus. This can happen best in one of our small groups.
At Welsh we encourage all our members and attenders to take advantage of meeting with one of our various small groups during the week. It is in these smaller settings that we can know each other better and encourage each other in our becoming like Jesus. It is in this smaller setting that I personally find encouragement and challenge from my brothers in Christ.
It seems obvious, but I will say it anyway, to be a church community we must actually spend time together. Whenever, a member of a community neglects our time together, through chance or choice, both the church and the individual are missing something. I can honestly say that on my small group night, even when I go tired and discouraged from a difficult day at work, I leave encouraged and “stirred up” from the time we have spent together. When one of the guys is missing the dynamic is not the same. We will miss the element that they bring to the group. Spurgeon once said, “A congregation is a strange aggregate – it is like the gatherings of a net or the collection of a dredge. If it is a very large one, it is especially remarkable. What strange varieties of creatures meet in Noah’s ark of a crowded House of Prayer!” In our small group we have dredged up some real interesting characters.
Attendance and participating in biblical community is an important part of a healthy Christian life and a basic part of our covenant with each other here at Welsh. Dwight L. Moody said, “Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.” As covenant members we are obligated to each other to make regular attendance and biblical community a priority in our lives. Why don’t you come see what real life in real community is all about? You can find out more about when and where our small groups gather by contacting our church office HERE.