Are You All In?
In the game of poker, to go “All In” means that you’re putting all of your chips…all of your money…into the pot for the hand you’re betting on. It’s a harrowing proposition, as it leaves you with no reserve, no leftovers, nothing to your name if the hand does not go your way. Admittedly I’ve never been much of a poker player, although I can play a mean game of Uno (Full disclosure: Parker and Jenna have beaten me more often than not). It’s certainly an imperfect and incomplete analogy, but I can’t help but think that we should regularly be asking ourselves this question with respect to our Faith commitments. This month as we begin a new year, I challenge us all to ask ourselves this question in terms of our relationship with the bride of Christ, His church.
As a refresher for any who haven’t heard it in a while, the fourth vow of membership in the PCA poses this question: Do you promise to support the Church in its worship and work to the best of your ability? The outworking of this vow can take on different forms depending on one’s gifts, resources, other commitments, etc., but it’s not something that can be ignored altogether. With that in mind, I’m going to pose the below questions for reflection:
1. Apart from Providential hindrances like illness, infirmity, works of necessity, mercy, ministry, etc., are you making a priority of Lord’s Day worship? (Hebrews 10:24-25)
2. How are you currently serving in the church and if you’re not, have you prayerfully asked God to reveal a need that you may be able to meet? A wise young brother once told me that God does not always call those who are equipped, He equips those He calls. (Galatians 5:13)
3. Are you actively praying for and encouraging others who are serving in the church or do you often find yourself spending significant time transfixed by things that do not satisfy your preferences? (Philippians 2:14, 1 Corinthians 12)
4. Do you involve yourself in other opportunities for worship, prayer, edification, and fellowship outside of our regular Sunday service? There are Sunday School classes, small groups, prayer meetings, and other ministries full of brothers and sisters who are eager to see new faces! (Acts 2:42
The local Bible-believing church is a gift to believers. We cannot say that we love Christ, but hate His bride. With that in mind, if you have been attending LRPC for any length of time, yet have not formally identified yourself with this body of believers, I must ask…why not? What’s holding you back? While there are many ways in which a church can be a blessing to regular attenders, and vice versa, to intentionally avoid membership is to miss out on full involvement in and engagement with the Ordinary Means of Grace (The Word, Sacraments, and Prayer). It’s a little bit like being a wedding guest as opposed to being in the wedding party. The church on Earth is but a foretaste of what we will experience when we’re at the Wedding Feast of The Lamb. It is an imperfect place, full of imperfect people, but we are worshiping a perfect, righteous, and holy God! As we start 2019, I encourage all of us to prayerfully seek out opportunities to become more engaged in the work and worship of His church. With that, I’ll ask the question one more time…Are You All In?
Soli Deo Gloria!
For more thoughts on church membership and church life, I offer up the following articles for your perusal. https://www.9marks.org/article/journalchurch-membership-biblical/ and https://www.ligonier.org/blog/church-not-drive-through-restaurant/