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Missing Body Parts
By Nancy Canwell

       Marco Michelini
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many" (1 Corinthians 12:12, 14).

“I haven’t seen Brian* and Emily at church for several weeks now,” Pastor Allen thought to himself.

It would have been easy to let that thought go. There was a sermon to write, sick people to visit, a marriage counseling session to prepare, and a work bee to plan. But he knew that members often quit coming to church because they don’t feel needed or wanted. They don’t feel significant. Knowing that Brian and Emily had musical talent, he met with the church’s praise team to see what they might do. All were in favor of Pastor Allen visiting the couple and inviting them to be a part of the team.

“We’ve missed you,” Pastor Allen told the couple, as they sat in their living room. “Is there a reason why you haven’t been coming to church?”

“Well,” Brian answered, “we just don’t feel like we are needed there….”

“But you are needed!” said Pastor Allen. “I know for a fact that you play keyboard, Brian. And Emily, you have a good singing voice. We do need you! We have a place for both of you. We want you there each week to be a part of our church family.”

The couple seemed touched by the fact that they were needed. They didn’t just hear, “We want you there,” but, “We need you there.” They returned the next week and were faithful from then on. They made new friends within the praise team, and became involved in other areas of the church, too. There was no way they would leave now. This was their second home. Their second family. They belonged!

Pastor Allen told me, “Their story proves that people need to be needed. The church needs to be committed to finding a place for each member to use his or her gifts and talents. If we don’t use members, they will drift away.

Whether our church members are lifelong Adventists or new converts, we have a responsibility to engage them. They are a part of the body that makes up our church, and if we don’t use everyone in a significant way, we will soon have missing body parts.

What can you and your church do to involve missing members and draw them back? Get together with your elders or Reconnecting Ministries team and take a look at those members who are no longer attending. Does he do landscaping? Ask him to help beautify your church grounds! Is she good with children? Ask her to help with Vacation Bible School! Are they a friendly couple? Ask them to be greeters! Is he a single young adult? Ask him to serve on your worship planning team!

With the help of the Holy Spirit, your church won’t have any missing body parts. Your church will be whole.

Prayer Focus: Pray that God will give us wisdom in how to engage those who are no longer coming to church. And pray that the Holy Spirit will go with us as we visit them and offer them a place in the body.

Recommended Resource: “Every Believer: God’s Calling and Gifting for Ministry” by Monte Sahlin. Order from AdventSource: http://bit.ly/1xS4gTd

*All names have been changed