As we come to the end of the year and press into yet another new year, it is always beneficial for us to evaluate our commitments and priorities from the past year–noting the ways in which we have, by God’s grace, grown in certain areas and the ways in which we desperately need to grow in other areas. When people make New Year’s resolutions, they tend to fixate on their own personal health and wellness—something for which there is much to be said. In the church, believers often commit to such things as “reading through the Bible in the year” or “starting a prayer journal.” While these—and similar resolutions—are honourable, there is one area of supreme importance where growth is always needed yet sadly neglected. It is the need for us to resolve to give our lives to Christ in the worship and service of the local church. In a very real sense, it is right for us to insist that the church should come first in the order of priorities of our lives.
In the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), believers take five membership vows when they join one of our churches. In one of these vows, those coming for membership promise God that they will “support the church in its worship and work to the best of their ability”. Sadly, if most believers were honest with themselves they would acknowledge that they often give the better part of their time, energy and money to all kinds of social activity, individuals and organizations rather than to the advancement of the Kingdom of God through the ministry of the local church. I can speculate as to reasons for this; however, I would rather seek to stir up your mind and heart to resolve to commit yourselves more fully to the worship and service of the local church to which you have joined yourselves.
Here are six reasons why all believers should give themselves to fulfilling their call to put the church first throughout the New Year ahead: