When a bride and groom take the time and thought to recite vows they have written themselves, you can tell they really have it together. I mean, these are people who just dwell on another level than most of us. I for one was happy to repeat what Pastor Lloyd told me to repeat, as long as I didn’t have to think about it too hard on my wedding day. I figured those vows were time tested; who am I to mess with them?
This blog isn’t about anything nearly so romantic as wedding vows; it’s about church membership vows. But again, most of us are happy to repeat and sign our church’s membership covenant if we agree with it and want to be a member.
I think I could do a much better job writing out my own wedding vows now that I have been married for a while. I’m much more in love with my wife, but I’m also more aware of what annoys me sometimes about marriage, and what I do to annoy her. I’ve also been going to church for a long time, and I know what sometimes gets under my skin about church, and what I need to work on. So here’s my take on renewing my own vows for church membership:
- I promise not to rush out the door when the service is over. I realize that the time when we are gathered together is precious, and I will use it to get to know you better.
- I will sing along even with the songs I don’t like, whether the volume is to my liking or not, because together we are praising God, and he loves to hear us sing.
- I promise to ask your name if I don’t remember it, and to remind you of mine if it looks like you are drawing a blank.
- I am going to ask how you’re doing and mean it, and I expect you to tell me how you’re actually doing.
- I will make it my goal to be a part of a small group where we can dig deeper into God’s Word and share our lives with each other.
- I will answer my elder’s text/email/voicemail and tell him how he can pray for me and my family.
- I promise to pray for and support our pastors and ministry leaders in the work God has called them to do here. I will do this with words of encouragement.
- I will make it a priority to attend church, realizing that as a priority it generally takes precedence over all other activities. I’ll attend as much stuff at church as I can. If there’s no classes I like, I’ll just go to get to know people better.
- I’ll serve where God has called and gifted me. If I’m not sure, I’ll start where there’s a need.
- I’ll remain at Grace Church until God calls me away, whether that’s because I relocate or because this church no longer teaches the gospel. I won’t just drift away when another church becomes more popular.
- I promise to support the kingdom of God and the ministry of this church by sacrificially giving of my money.
- I will strive to build others up in the faith, not just talk about worldly things with you like my lawn or the news. I’ll try to “spur you on” toward love and good deeds (Heb 10:24).
- I’ll confront you when it’s clear you’re not living how the Bible teaches, not in judgment, but in love, because “faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:6).
Any form of commitment can lead to irritation and disillusionment sometimes. But, in the case of the local church, it’s worth it. There is no more worthy commitment we can make in this world, and none other that has such potential to make us more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. Perhaps like me you need to remind yourself from time to time what it is you’ve committed to and marvel that Jesus, in his grace, would have you as a member!