Where are the days of duty and promise, pledges and vows, oaths and formal agreements? Contemporary western cultures are enthralled by choice and committed primarily to preserving the freedom to withdraw, move on, reconsider and renegotiate. We are faithful to our spouses until fidelity is uncomfortable and inconvenient. We are loyal to our employers until we get a better offer.
Ours is a culture committed to consumerism, and if Christians are not careful, even our churches will be nothing more than a semi-sanctified microcosm of the surrounding world. We attend when we want, are accountable to the degree we want, submit to whom we want and only when we want and give only when it is convenient.
We are going through the motions and checking things off a list, but is this really what and how and who the church was created to be?
The local church is more than a place. The church is the glorious gathering of the redeemed, the sanctified flock of the great Shepherd, the united household of God, the beautiful body and bride of Christ. It manifests the “manifold wisdom of God” for the display of His glory (Eph. 3:10).
Such an exalted picture of the church seems silly as long as we’re content with superficial relationships and shallow connections. It seems impossible as long as we pursue finite happiness with infinite choice and entertainment.
What’s the Difference Between a Partner and Somebody Who Just Goes to The Compass Church Every Week?
At The Compass Church, we make a distinction between “partners” and “guests/visitors.” If you’re not a partner, then you’re technically a guest who remains to a certain extent separated from our church family; and separated from the maturity, protection, accountability, and care that comes with being an active part of the church. This may not make much difference for visitors and non-Christians, but Christians who consume rather than commit to a local church do a disservice to Jesus’ body (the church) and themselves. Partners, on the other hand, participate as the church: sacrificing time, talents, and treasure; committing to the care and community of their fellow partners; and submitting to the authority God has established to lead our congregation. In short, the difference between a member and a non-member is that members are “on-mission.”
What are the Benefits of Being a Partner?
Scripture calls us a body, a family, a household – being a Christian is not a solo effort. Jesus works through the church (Eph. 2:10). The church is Jesus’ body (1 Cor. 12:27), and apart from Jesus, you can do nothing (John 15).
This isn’t a country club, and it isn’t a 24-Hour Fitness Centre. Again, partners are the church. ‘‘In love [God] predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ… So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” (Eph. 1:4-5 2:19)
You don’t join for the perks – although partners do enjoy greater access to the inner workings, information and the ability to speak into the life of the church, as well as certain volunteer opportunities that are only available to partners. The benefit is that we get to worship Jesus together, serve in His kingdom, and be children of God! We enjoy the guidance that His Word provides, and, when sin comes between us, we enjoy the reconciliation Jesus’ blood provides.