August 14, 2022

The Importance of the Body


The New Testament has two big illustrations that it uses for the church.  One of them is the sheep and the shepherd.  The other is the body or bride of Christ.

The Assembly of the Body

The first thing to realize about the body is that God the Father is the one that put it together1.  He put them in the body as He saw fit for His purposes.

Why is this radical?  Because we tend to think that we chose a specific church, and we also tend to look at a church as to what I can get out of it, rather than how God can use me in it.

The Empowering of the Body

The Spirit is the gift that is received at salvation, and it is He that empowers you through gifts to accomplish the work of the Father.

The Spirit works through the reading of the Bible and prayer so that you can hear God speak, and grow your relationship with God.

The Leadership of the Body

Christ is the head of the church—which we covered in our last post—but it is He that is supposed to be leading, guiding and directing.  He uses the pastor and those in the church to give His direction to His people, but all decisions should start with “What does Christ want us to do?”

Every Part of the Body is Important

A Little History

When I was the Chairman of the Deacons a few years back, and our new Pastor wanted help coming up with a new Constitution one area that I thought needed work (in particular) was how we dealt with membership.  See, we’d just come through a rough patch, and had many people on our roles that were not attending, did not want to talk with us, and I figured they should just be removed.

Our old (then current) Constitution gave them a few services to miss and then they were unceremoniously dropped off the roles.  No questions, no contacting them, they were just removed.

In our new one, we thought we were being generous by adding to the time that they had to miss, adding a requirement that they be contacted in writing/in person, and then having a vote.

The problem is that we (wrongly, I now believe) thought we were the ones that decided who would be part of our body and they were done being a part.

Who Adds Members?

Biblically, if God is the one that adds members, it is only He that can take them somewhere else.  When someone comes into membership, they are becoming part of the body:

  • We are commanded to hurt when they hurt.
  • We are commanded to bear their burdens.
  • We are commanded to love them.

So if someone’s not attending our church, and God has not given them another body to be a part of, what is our duty to them?  To drop them off the roles?

I’m coming around to the concept that if a member is not at our church services, they either need to be transferred or church disciplined.

We are a body, we are responsible, right?

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  1. 1 Corinthians 12:18 []

4 thoughts on “The Importance of the Body

  1. Wow, this is a convicting post. We had a similar issue at my old church where we just removed people without contact. But you’re right – who are we to do the removing??? This is probably part of the reason there are so many Christians who have had bad experiences in former churches – did the church try to reach out and discover why attendance had dropped? Was there a problem not prayed for and addressed?

    I’m sure most of the problems with membership issues could be rectified by communication – as long as both parties are willing and honest.

    I think there is a lot of pride running in churches – they don’t want to admit if members want to go somewhere else. But the point is not that every seat is full on Sunday – as a church it should want to see its former or on-the-way out members involved somewhere. I think a church working for a transfer (as long as there are no disciplinary issues involved) would go far for building bridges and building up members.

    Rachels last blog post..Shameless Promotion

  2. @Rachel: Communication is big. The body is constantly telling the head and other parts about what’s going on. In today’s church we operate a lot in silence. That, or we act uninterested in what’s going on in someone’s life.

    We want the numbers, we don’t want the work. It’s a sad indictment.

  3. Hi, MInTheGap! I haven’t been a member of a church since 1991 (when I was 17). I don’t know a whole lot about the decision making processes of church leaders. I know a lot about feeling that I don’t belong there, that no one has any use for me, and of being a stranger even in my hometown church. This is a great conversation to start, in my opinion. I think many people want to belong to a church, and don’t because of the cliquey vibes they’ve gotten whenever they’ve tried.

    Alicias last blog post..How I Stumble

  4. @Alicia: That’s a good idea, I think that there’s a lot of opportunity to change in the way people treat others in the church– I’ll spin off this series to look more closely about how we should treat one another. Thanks for the idea!

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