Four years ago, a young boy nearly drowned at a waterpark in St. Holmen, Wisconsin. What made this incident particularly tragic was that there were several lifeguards on duty at the time. Two mothers, who witnessed what went wrong, said the lifeguards completely dropped the ball—not just once, but twice.
The first botched rescue occurred when the lifeguards failed to help a four-year-old boy who was struggling to stay afloat. Fortunately, one of the mothers saw the boy in distress, sprung into action, and rescued him. About an hour later the same thing happened, except this second young boy lost consciousness. Again, one of the moms helped pull him out of the water and began performing CPR. She did this while the lifeguards just watched. The boy was rushed to the hospital and thankfully survived.
This true story reinforces what we already know by experience—failing to carry out an important responsibility can and often does lead to disaster. If a lifeguard abdicates his or her assigned task, people can drown.
I don’t intend to defend the biblical merits of congregationalism in this post. Instead, I want to list and briefly explain seven ways a congregation can fulfill its Christ-commissioned responsibility. Some of these action steps are directed specifically at the individual church member, while others focus on the congregation as a whole.