“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” – EPHESIANS 2:19
WHAT DOES MEMBERSHIP MEAN WITHIN THE CHURCH?
Most Christians know that attendance is important, but at times have forgotten that it doesn’t stop there. Some might have assumptions of hierarchal leadership structures that rule and reign in abusive ways. This unfortunately has happened and in some cases continues today. This however, is not how God has orchestrated the local church. He has meant it to be a place for the saints to gather and to be unified – building one another up with the very gifts God bestowed upon them through the Spirit upon conversion. You see, the church isn’t a building, but a people – sinners, sufferers, and saints – that have been transformed from one degree of holiness to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18) and are not only eager to love God and love others, but commanded to do so (Matthew 22:36-40).
So membership shouldn’t be thought of lightly, but as something far greater than one can comprehend in full. As marriage unites the man and the women into one – membership of a church should be likened to that end – one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” – EPHESIANS 4:1-6
The apostle Paul, in the quote above, touched this important question for us in his letter to the Ephesian church and we as Christ followers ought to do our very best to uphold what doesn’t change – God’s Word.
There is a cultural reason to becoming a member. Membership is an antidote to our society. We live in an age where very few want to be committed to anything—a job, a marriage, a family, friends. This attitude has in many respects produced a generation of Christians that seek to find what best serves them rather than seeking a local church to serve. Membership swims against the current of North America’s “consumer religion”. Membership is an unselfish decision and one that builds character.
Lastly, and very practically, it defines who can be counted on. We all know that every team has a roster, every school has an enrolment, every business has a payroll. Even our country takes a census to count each citizen. The church body – through membership – ensures those who serve in key ministry areas understand the values, beliefs, and vision of the church and can be counted on to use the gifts they have each been given to build up the church.
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” – 1 PETER 4:8-10
WHAT IS MEMBERSHIP?
The Shore Church holds its members in high regard. Members function as the primary missionaries of the gospel to the culture we live in and work in. As members, we rely on each other to meet most of the needs within the church and the needs of those within our communities. Jesus in Matthew 25:34-36 at our final judgement gives us an example of what He is looking for,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
In the book of James we see more instruction of how we as members of a local body ought to live – Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Membership of a local church is an important aspect of the Christian faith. Membership provides accountability, community, a place to build and encourage others with the gifts granted upon salvation, and purposeful mission alongside other faithful saints of Jesus.
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” – ROMANS 12:3-8
Much more to discover at our next members class.
HOW DO I BECOME A MEMBER?
1. Sign up for the next Members Class.
2. Pick up a copy “Church Membership” by Jonathan Leeman at the at the Welcome Centre and please have it read by the next class.
3. Complete the class and fill out the member covenant.
4. After signing The Shore Church Member Covenant, you will be contacted by one of the pastors to hear your testimony and pray for you.
NEXT MEMBER CLASS
When: November 14 + 21 (12:30-1:30PM both Sundays @ LGCA)