22 Jun

Does membership matter?

Taken from the intimation sheet: 22 June 2014

Today we will be welcoming Linda into membership of the Church. What is membership, what does it mean and why does it matter?

We can certainly say that the church matters. The church is called ‘the Bride of Christ’ and the ‘Body of Christ.’ We cannot claim to love Christ if we do not love his Bride, his Body. To love and serve Christ we must love and serve the Church. Real relationship with Christ demands real relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

But does membership matter? Can’t we be committed without formally recognizing it, much like you can commit to your partner without making them your spouse? “We don’t need a bit of paper for our relationship to work” is a common mantra today’s society. Here are five reasons why we still think membership matters:

1. We get to publicly ask for God’s Help in being faithful to our church family

Loving, forgiving, serving. Being a church member is about more than singing the songs and enduring the sermons! It can be hard at times, and we need God’s help. As we welcome people into membership we acknowledge that.

2. We get to declare publicly that we’re not ashamed of our church family

If someone is committed to you, they will be happy for people to know it.

3. It avails us of the benefits (yes benefits!) of church discipline

Discipline may not seem desirable, but imagine where you would be (indeed who you would be) without it. We need discipline. If you are not in membership then technically you are not under the authority of the leadership of the church. (Read 1 Corinthians 5 or Matthew 18 for more)

4. It means we can have a say in the direction the church takes

Imagine the church were considering appointing a minister who believed something utterly abhorrent to the Lord. You should have a say in that. Baptists believe in the priesthood of all believers. All believers have the same access to God, therefore all believers ought to be involved in discerning the mind of Christ for His Church. Membership opens the door for this to happen.

5. It acts as a witness to non-Christians

In an age of what Mark Dever calls ‘Commitment-phobia’ to commit to something (especially something unfashionable) is a real witness. To see people who have nothing in common with one another but their love for Jesus, committing to one another, is a great testimony to the power of Jesus in their lives.

It should be noted that the way we welcome people into membership is negotiable! If you would love to commit to the Church but feel daunted about the prospect of standing in front of people, speak to me anytime!

Please remember to pray for Linda as she commits herself to our Fellowship. Please also remember Heidi and Connor, Edwin and Morag in your prayers. We will miss them greatly but are excited about all that God has for them in the future- and they’ve all promised not to be strangers!

Yours in His service

Ross