Every local church is comprised of a diverse group of people who have been radically transformed by the power of God through the person and work of Jesus Christ. These diverse people have no reason to live and work together, let alone care for each other—and yet, they choose to live in love and unity together, to the praise and glory of the Lord’s name. Healthy local churches make a powerful and attractive testimony to a watching world. This means that every church member has to be devoted to building others up.
Church members who build up the church are those who:
Attending is the most basic way church members build each other up. It’s the most obvious way to show commitment to the body. There’s something encouraging about knowing a brother or sister is simply going to be present at a church service, and you are going to worship God together.
You cannot build others up if you’re not meeting with them regularly and faithfully.
The writer to the Hebrews tells the believers to “stir one another up to love and good deeds” and to “encourage one another.” How are they to do this? By “not forsaking the assembling of the believers” (Hebrews 10:23-25). You cannot build others up if you’re not meeting with them regularly and faithfully. It’s no wonder that those regularly absent from the gathering often stagnate in their faith or become members who primarily grumble and complain.
Dear church member, church meetings are not about you or your convenience. Build others up by faithful attendance.
Consider Paul’s words about Tychicus: “I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts” (Colossians 4:8). Why does he send his friend? To encourage the Colossians. We should follow Paul’s model.
Biblical encouragement is a fellow teammate urging you to get to work.
The encouraging member commends, recommends, praises, thanks, comforts, urges, supports, and compliments other members. We often think of encouraging as merely giving praise, like a spectator on the terraces. However, biblical encouragement is more than that; it’s a fellow teammate urging you to get to work.
Furthermore, encouragement is not mere flattery. It’s not just being nice or telling people what they want to hear. Rather, true encouragement is honest and sincere. It commends those who serve well, and it also urges those who are struggling in their walk with the Lord. Such a kind of member is a great blessing to the body. Strive to be one.
3. Confront without Indulging in Gossip
Churches are full of sinful people, which means church members sin against each other. This challenges the unity of the church, and it requires members to confront one another in love and gentleness.
The confronting member confronts out of love for God and love for other believers.
The confronting member is the opposite of a gossip and slanderer. They obey the charge of scripture to confront and restore people who are living in sin (Matthew 18:15-18; Galatians 6:1-2). What motivates the confronting member is not just that someone’s sin has offended them but that the Lord is offended by sin—particularly sin that is unresolved and left to fester and grow (1 Corinthians 5). The confronting member confronts out of love for God and love for other believers.
I’ve always been struck by Samuel’s statement to David: “Far be it from me that I may sin against the Lord by not praying for you” (1 Samuel 12:23).
We have a responsibility to pray for each other.
We have a responsibility to pray for each other. The best church members are devoted to prayer. They’ve learned to depend on God, so they highly value praying to him. Typically, praying members learn to talk less to people and more to God about people. They’re a church’s unsung heroes. If prayer drives the church, then the praying member is essential to the health and growth of the church.
Attendance is necessary, but members should do more than just attend. They should serve, and “do the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12). They use their gifts to serve God and other members, building up the church in the process.
Attendance is necessary, but members should do more than just attend.
Great encouragement comes from knowing you’re not the only one on the team. Great comfort comes from knowing you have teammates fighting with you and encouraging you as you go. People who can but don’t serve in the church tend to discourage the rest of the body.
6. Show Patience
Patience is vitally important, both for the individual believer and the congregation as a whole. After all, the Christian life isn’t a sprint but a marathon. Our walk with the Lord is a process, and we won’t noticeably grow overnight.
We must learn to endure each other’s weaknesses and shortcomings.
All this means we must learn to endure each other’s weaknesses and shortcomings. We must learn to forgive without grudges and disciple one another with all patience. A patient member graciously puts up with other people’s failures. They realise that no church is perfect—and as a result, they are joyfully patient. A church with patient members is a church where members confront one another, encourage one another, confess sin to one another, and forgive each other.
Dear church member, pursue these qualities in your life and encourage them in others. Pray for yourself and others. Pray that you will build up the church as faithful and patient members who attend, encourage, confront, pray, and serve. This builds up the church of Christ.