Quartz Hill School of Theology

Commitment (The "C" Word)


Jack Vondra

There's an old church axiom that says "Ten percent of the congregation does eighty percent of the work." the number of active, participating members is probably somewhat higher on average, but the point is the same: a small percentage of a congregation does almost all of the work. That leaves the great majority that doesn't want to be a part of the "active" church body. By their own choice!

This creates some problems, especially in a small church. It's hard for the minority to absorb the disinterest of the majority. It leaves that active minority with two options: press on in spite of the lack of interest, or bow to the majority and do nothing. The first option will only work part way. The minority can vote to support a project, but it would also have to foot the entire bill (in time, effort, and funds) or watch the project fail for lack of support. The second option defeats the purpose of having a congregation in the first place. If we aren't going to do anything, why meet?

The first option is actually to do the best we can with what we have. It's the normal mode of operation in most churches. It works only to the limits of the active minority. It isn't completely successful because there isn't any unity of action with the benefit of sharing the load. Thirty people get overloaded far more quickly than ninety people. While thirty people can have a meeting and vote to spend church funds in particular ways, they can't have a meeting and obligate the support of ninety people. While the meeting of the thirty may be a legitimate meeting as far as the church organization goes, and its decisions may be binding on the "church body", its an empty action as long as the collective "church body" couldn't care less what happens. It's especially significant when there isn't any excess of funds or help and new projects need new support. No support, no new projects, no growth.

Interestingly, the do-nothings wouldn't be content if their level of disinterest was shared by the entire congregation. They expect things to get done, they just don't want to be the ones doing them. They're fairly fussy about how things get done, and won't hang around long if they aren't satisfied. It's easier to leave it than to fix it.

What would your reaction be, if you came to church service next Sunday (the morning service, of course; you have better things to do in the evenings) and there weren't any bulletins because nobody wanted to bother with getting them printed, copied, and handed out. You'll have to get your own chair from the stack along the wall, because no one wanted to come early and set them up. Please don't mind the mess on the floor, no one came in to clean this week (too busy). How about the music? Too much time and trouble required to get ready, so the music team decided to quit. Pastor was pretty busy during the week, so he didn't get around to preparing a sermon. Oh well, maybe he can ad lib for half an hour and then we can get out of here in time for the big game on TV. Just how important is a well-run worship service?

It's no big deal, though; things do mange to get done, so your help probably isn't needed, anyway. Let the other folks do it if it makes them feel better - why should you be bothered since you have so much else to do. I mean, you have a family to raise, and a home to manage, and a job to go to. That's enough to keep anyone busy! Guess what - so do the others!

The funny thing is, the ones who don't have time to help out can still find the time to criticize. Their main problem with "the church" is that "the leadership" make up their minds beforehand and just ram their agendas through, so why should they get involved? You know why that idea is so easy to spread? Since seventy percent didn't show up, that left the remaining thirty percent to make the decisions and get things done. Things get done without them, so the seventy percent don't feel like they're a part of the action. And they're not!

As Baptists, we believe strongly in congregational rule. The will of God will be found in the determinations of the entire body. The strength of the body and the power of its decisions lie in its ability to come together in unity. As a church body we share a common goal and meet together to work toward that goal. Without meeting together, there is no unity; and without unity, there is no purpose. Ninety are three times as strong as thirty. This lack of commitment thing is said to be a "sign of our time." Well, someone once said not to be conformed to this world.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing, and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

What will it be? A soldier in God's army (even a private has a purpose - no job is unimportant), or even a tourist, passing across the battleground (look at me, I was at the battle!). It takes more than an entry on the membership roll to make a member. Commitment - the "C" word: it's part of the burden you agreed to carry when you promised Jesus that you would follow and obey Him -when you asked Him to be Lord of your life.

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14-17)

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Telephone: (661) 722-0891
Email: info@theology.edu
Website: www.theology.edu

Quartz Hill School of Theology
43543 51st Street West
Quartz Hill, CA 93536

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