Some Christians treat the church like it is a country club. Webster defines the term as follows:
[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]A private club where people go for social events and to play golf, tennis, etc.[/box]
When something is decided that they do not like, these “country club Christians” start breathing threats to the elders, the deacons, or the preachers. It has nothing to do with what is doctrinally right or wrong, but is all about personal preferences and opinions. They might threaten to take their membership elsewhere or to quit church altogether!When this becomes one’s view of the church, something is seriously wrong.
Here are four reasons why the church is not a country club.
[highlight]1. You can’t pay for your membership in the church.[/highlight] Your weekly contribution on the Lord’s day is not a check to pay any club dues (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7). Jesus paid the price so you could become a member of His church (Acts 20:28). You do not own the church. The church is comprised of those who have obeyed the gospel and, therefore, are “in Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27). Jesus is the only way we could be adopted into God’s family (Eph. 1:5-6). We belong to Him (Rom. 6:11-13, 22-23). Isaac Watts conveyed the proper response to our having been purchased by Christ: “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all!” The Holy Spirit put it this way:
[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Cor. 6:20).[/box]
[highlight]2. The church is not just for society’s “elite.”[/highlight] According to Wikipedia, “Country clubs are founded upon the concept of private membership and exclusion of the general public”. Alleged Christians who ostracize visitors (and even other Christians) because of race, gender, income-level (or any other reason) do not know true, New Testament Christianity. Everyone is invited to accept God’s gracious offer to be saved and be added by the Lord to His church (2 Thes. 2:13; Acts 2:38, 47; 10:34-35).
[highlight]3. The church does not exist for your pleasure.[/highlight] This is neither a social hangout nor a recreational hotspot. The church does not exist to be a baby-sitter or youth group entertainer. There certainly isn’t anything wrong with Bible-focused childcare services or with youth groups enjoying times of fellowship together, but the church is about more than just those things. The Lord’s church is to serve as a light in your community and throughout the world. Being a “light” is about more than just having a positive influence in the community; it has to do with reflecting the light of Jesus that shows the way of salvation (Mat. 5:14-16; John 3:19-21; 14:6). The church exists to do the Lord’s Will. Paul addressed the church that met in Ephesus and commanded them as follows:
[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10).[/box]
[highlight]4. Your congregation’s assembly building is not a social status symbol.[/highlight] Many of our brethren throughout the United States are blessed with great facilities – to God be the glory! How great to have an inviting, welcoming place where we can assemble together in a comfortable environment to worship and study God’s Word. But let’s remember this: assembly buildings – and other congregational possessions (such as church buses) – are to be used with stewardship in mind to God’s glory (Col. 3:17; Rev. 4:11). May we never misuse these blessings or elevate these things as though they are intrinsically holy. They are instruments for God’s holy people to use in His holy service.
How can you avoid becoming a “country club Christian”? Remember these four things:
- The church is about telling lost sinners about Jesus (Mat. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; cf. Acts 8:1).
- The church is about encouraging fellow Christians (Heb. 10:24-25; Eph. 4:12-16; 1 Cor. 14:26; 1 Thes. 5:11; Rom. 14:19).
- The church is about helping those who are less fortunate (2 Cor. 8:13-15; Gal. 6:10; Mat. 25:34-46).
- The church is about salvation. As new creatures (John 3:3, 5; 2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 3:5-11), we have a whole new purpose in life. Our outlook has shifted from seeking the temporal and the earthly to seeking the eternal and the heavenly (Col. 3:1-2; 2 Cor. 4:16-18; 5:7). We are Lord’s church. Life is now about heaven, about being saved and living a saved (faithful) life. We want to go to heaven, and we want to help others get there, too (Phil. 1:21; 3:8-11).