I am particular about words.  Words mean something.  Be accurate with your words in order to be precise in what you mean.  

Here are words that I wish we didn’t use – church attender.  What do we mean by church attender?  We mean someone who attends a church service.  A person who drives to a place called “church” and sits in a seat and mostly passively participates in the service. 

The term ‘church attender’ isn’t found anywhere in the New Testament.  In the passages of scripture that describe what God wants from the church, we never see those who made up the church of Jesus being described as church attenders.  You will find them described as disciples or saints or believers or brothers.  You will find many more descriptors of those who are church members (hey, another one!) – but not church attender.  One of my favorites is found all over the greetings Paul makes at the end of his letter to the Romans.  It is fellow worker or co-worker.    

I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as well.

Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; also greet the church that is in their house. 

Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia.

Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.

Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.

Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.

Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ. 

Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus.

Greet Herodion, my kinsman. Greet those of the household of Narcissus, who are in the Lord.

Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, workers in the Lord. Greet Persis the beloved, who has worked hard in the Lord.

Greet Rufus, a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine.

Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brethren with them.

Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.

Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

Romans 16:1–16 (NASB)

The individuals who make up the membership of the church are workers, co-workers to be precise.  They work together for Jesus.  Church is about each of us doing our part in the family business of God.  The work of God is ministry – the ministry of making disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20).  The work is walking by the Holy Spirit together, each doing our part to grow and mature the church in Christ.  The work is seeing baptisms, participating in groups, learning, and living Scripture, and witnessing the generous living that is a fruit of God at work.  Be a fellow worker in Christ.

A few weeks ago at one of our staff meetings, Arlan Howard, our Associate Minister of Build Ministries, had us do a thankfulness exercise.  He placed these big Post-It notes on the wall and put a Mount Carmel Ministry title at the top.  Then he told us to write down the names of all the individuals we could think of that work to make that ministry possible.  Fellow workers in Christ.  Here are a few pictures of some of those Post-It notes.      

We had ten ministries with a total of 284 names listed!  We shared this list with our elders and staff, and we committed to pray for these co-workers of Christ – giving thanks for them and their faithfulness in serving.  Fellow workers of Christ who make up the Mount Carmel Christian Church.  Co-workers who work hard in the mission of the Gospel!  I am so thankful to be called to serve alongside these folks.  What an honor.  What a privilege.  Praise be to Jesus!  This is what it means to follow Jesus.  This is what it means to be a member of His church.  Children of God going about their Father’s family business! 

If you are a Christian, don’t be a church attender.  That is not God’s Will for you.  Be a fellow worker.