In my last post, I’m No Rock Star, I addressed the popular yet disillusioning notion that in order tolive a meaningful Christian life, one must go to extremes; implying that to live quietly in suburbia while working at a secular vocation is second-rate Christianity. I received much feedback from readers stating that they often wrestle with these thoughts and feelings. Today I want to look at eight core components which I believe are required to live an intentional and fulfilling “ordinary” life in Christ for those not called to the ends of the earth, the inner-city, or a life of near poverty as made popular in evangelical Christianity today.
1. Commitment to the local church through membership. In a society where commitment is fleeting, commitment through membership in the local church is key for several reasons:
a. To promote accountability with other Christians and church leadership to live in accordance with Scripture
b. To know and be known by each other, to encourage one another, and to do good for each other
c. To let others know your intention to commit in attendance, giving, prayer, and service
2. Active and regular service within the body of Christ. The duties and ministry of the church is not reserved for the “paid professionals” (Ephesians 4:11-12), but rather all believers in the local assembly who have been individually gifted for the Lord’s work. Lay involvement is not inferior to those in full time paid vocational ministry
3. Giving tithes and offerings. I have read past studies which revealed that only 3-5% of Christians tithe. Tithing 10% of our income to the local church is an act of worship and stewardship which promotes the Lord’s work. Offerings, above the 10% can be given to parachurch ministries and/or missionary support. (Malachi 3:10, Matthew6:19-21, 2 Corinthians 8:1-15, 9:1-15)
4. Practicing the “one anothers”. The one anothers in the New Testament are numerous and include loving, encouraging, welcoming, comforting, serving, forgiving, doing good, etc. to one another. The regular practice of these within the context of the local church will strengthen the body and be a powerful witness to the outside world. (click here for the one anothers)
5. Engage the world. One cannot shelter within the walls of the church. Christ-followers are ambassadors for Him (2Corinthians 5:18-21). Intentionality in loving neighbors, coworkers, classmates, and others is essential through building relationships, doing good, and sharing the good news of the gospel. (Matthew 5:16)
6. Make disciples. Invest in others, teach them to follow Christ, challenge them to make their own disciples, thus creating a ministry of multiplication (Matthew 28:18-20)
7. Work hard in your place of employment. Diligent and honest work with the right attitude will be a powerful testimony for Christ and can provide opportunities to share Christ. Do not minimize the potential for a secular vocation’s eternal impact! (1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians3:22-4:1, 1 Timothy 6:1-2).
8. Focused prayer. The disciplines of personal Bible study and prayer are assumed for the Christ-follower. However, for the “ordinary Christian”, focused prayer involves intentional prayer for the local church, the local community, and advancement of the gospel around the world. Each of the points listed above will contribute to focused prayer practices. (Colossians 4:2)
I am convinced that the “ordinary Christian” living an “ordinary life” will have a powerful eternal impact through the furthering of His kingdom when Christ is followed obediently, whole-heartedly, intentionally, and diligently. The unreached people groups around the globe need salvation found only in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12) and the people in the inner-city need Christ; but so do our neighbors, coworkers and classmates- let us not neglect them in pursuit of “rock star” status. May the Lord bring joy and fulfillment in your service to Him, in whatever capacity He calls you.
As always, I welcome thoughts and comments.