Pour Yourself Into the Church?

Lately, there seems a strong re-emphasis on the importance of being an active, participating member in one’s local church. Some Christians are encouraged to pour themselves into their local church to be and stay connected.

But is pouring yourself into the church always the right answer?

Recently, I talked to a friend in another city. He and his family have been somewhat disconnected from his church family due to various life circumstances. He sat down to talk with his pastor about the situation. Upon explaining that he felt a little like an outsider and did not know most of the new members, the pastor told him that he needs to pour himself into the church. My friend was challenged to be present on Wednesday nights and at both Sunday services in order to get connected again.

I understood this advice from the pastor as did my friend. The more I probed, the more I realized my friend was not looking for excuses for his situation, but looking for help.

He was hurting spiritually.

I asked my friend if an offer was made to have anyone pour them self into his life, as a church member, during this difficult time. His answer was no. But that question brought new life to the conversation. He explained how he would have so appreciated the offer for a mature Christian to come alongside and help him spiritually.

Many times Christians who are consistently missing during corporate gatherings are hurting spiritually. The hurt may be sin, spiritual depression, being overwhelmed, etc. Telling them to pour themselves into the church is not always the right answer.

Listening with empathy and discernment may reveal that those hurting need the church to pour into them for a time of restoration. While listening in this way it may be good to remember that the church exists outside of scheduled weekly gatherings. This approach makes 1 Corinthians 12:26 a little easier, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (ESV).

For what it’s worth…


tagged as , , , in Christianity,Church Issues

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matt Privett February 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm

This is a good word, Mark. Thank you.

2 Mark February 15, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Thank you, Matt.

3 David February 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Mark, great advice. I went from being 100% a spectator and non-member of my previous church to being a deacon in my current church a few years later. My current involvement there feels like close to 100% doing ministry and pouring myself into people. God has impressed upon me lately that this has led to a lack of vulnerability before others and a lack of willingness to have others in my church minister to me. I’ve grown too dependent on conferences and conference life. When the pastor of another church spoke with me a few days ago, I left feeling ministered to for the first time in a while. Sometimes people just really need a season of that – especially if those “life circumstances” come after a season of really pouring themselves out in ministry.

4 ~daniel February 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Hey, was sent here via the weekly 7 at deadpastorssociety.wordpress.

This is an interesting “knife-edge” situation. While pouring ones self into church may not be the answer, it is hard to build community & relationships without exposure to learn about opportunities.

Were a friend come to me with the same situation, an extremely viable option is to talk to pastors/deacons to try to find a small/home/cell group that would best suit the individual as a start (if such a program exists within that church, of course).

It is easier to grow the kind of long lasting, nurturing relationships in this kind of setting, whereas the Sunday/Wendsday congregation can be an intimidating, and often very poor, environment to grow long lasting relationships.

I’m not saying that it is not possible, just that the larger congregational setting can retard relationship development, where a small group type setting can incubate them.

Good thoughts Mark! Thanks for posting!

5 Mark February 21, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Thanks for the comment, Daniel. Your points are well taken.


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