Do you love your church? Jesus does! Jesus loved the church enough to die. Do we love Him and His church enough to live? To give? To really make His bride a high priority in our lives?
Here are ten simple ways that you could greatly strengthen your church this season and in the new year…
1. Really Pray—Really pray for your pastor, your church, your own role in the body. Really pray for God’s provision and power. Really pray that God will take your church forward this Christmas and in the New Year!
2. Really Participate—Many people will casually “attend” church this season—but far fewer will truly participate with passion. In what ways are you engaged with your church on mission with Jesus for the gospel? With what energy will you really engage in worship, fellowship, and service? Be faithful to services, and bring an expectant heart and a ready spirit.
3. Bring a Guest—People all around you are looking for an opportunity to be in church this Christmas. Your kind invitation could be what brings them within the sound of a clear gospel message at your church. God could use you to bring them to Jesus—just because you invited them to Christmas services.
4. Be Extravagantly Generous—Remember who’s birthday we really celebrate—Jesus! In the midst of all of your giving, decide to put Jesus and His church at the top of the list. Will you “tip” God with a little extra change, or will you truly and deeply consider all that He’s done for you and bestowed upon you? Give Him your whole heart, and your generosity will follow!
5. Serve and Encourage Others—Begin with Jesus, then move to your family and friends, your church family, your neighbor—just look for opportunity to give yourself away and think of others before self. Write a kind note, bake something, tell someone how much you love them. Be a joyful voice of blessing!
6. Remember Someone’s Pain—Within your reach, there are broken hearts having a very difficult Christmas. For them, this season is merely magnifying loss, hardship, or sorrow. A kind note, a personal touch, a gift, or a thoughtful ministry gesture will go a long way towards encouraging people who are having a “painful Christmas.”
7. Randomly Love—Pick a stranger, pay for their coffee or give a small gift—do something randomly kind—and attach to it an invitation to your church. The unconditional and unexpected love of Jesus is delightful and life-changing!
8. Forgive and Forbear—Churches are made of people, and people have issues. People hurt people. Decide to strengthen your church by personally deciding not to hold a grudge or an offense. Let it go and decide to grow.
9. Walk with Jesus Privately—Your private walk with Jesus will overflow into your place in your local body. Your church is as strong as you! Be real. Be done with casual Christianity. Choose to more fully love, embrace, and engage in the call of Jesus Christ and His work.
10. Purpose in Your Heart—Christmas quickly turns into a New Year, which provides us with an opportunity to set direction, set goals, turn the page on last year’s successes and failures—and chart the course for spiritual health and depth. Decide to grow deeper and stronger in the new year! Decide to be a better church member and a more faithful Christian through 2017!
I recently heard a pastor asked his church family three questions:
—What are you doing that makes your church stronger?
—What are you doing that makes your church weaker?
—If everyone followed you example, what would happen to your church?
Good questions! Convicting questions! Fair questions. If everyone followed your example, would your church close? Flounder? Flourish? Explode?
As we close 2016, somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 churches closed their doors last year. More than ever, America and the world needs healthy local churches. Healthy churches only happen if Christians are healthy—growing stronger in grace and commitment to Christ and His body.
This Christmas, give Jesus a gift that YOU KNOW He will love!
Give Him a STRONGER BRIDE!