Pastor's Blog

I’m going to assume that I’ve made a good case and I want to begin to build on the foundational idea that people that become believers ought to become part of a local body of believers. 

It is not good that man should be alone.  We’re made by God to have meaningful connections with others.

The group I affiliate with strengthens me, and the things that I bring to the group strengthen the group – and the group is an effective tool to reach others for Christ.  They don’t have to be Lone Rangers in a hostile world.

That said…

Who should be considered a member of a church? 
How do they get to be one?
Is church membership even necessary?

One of the things that we Americans hate is meaningless formality. 
And many people consider church membership a meaningless formality. 

“What’s the big deal?  As long as I come to church.  As long as I obey Christ, what does it matter if I’m a member of a church?”

A few questions…

Who should vote on whether the church spends money to build a new building?
Who should get to vote on who next year’s leaders are?
Who should get to become one of next year’s leaders?

Just any person that happens to come through the doors?  Anyone who attends?  No questions asked?

Sounds an awful lot like the approach of the Democratic Party to America’s southern border policy, which most of us consider not only irresponsible, but destructive to our American sense of nationhood.

Any time you have a group of people functioning together, the group must have defining boundaries.  Both the group and those outside the group must be able to identify the people who are in and the people who are out.

The first church at Jerusalem understood this principle.

So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.  And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
                                                                                                                             (Acts 2.41-42)

 

The word “member” isn’t used, but the concept is clearly present.  Acceptance of the gospel and public confession of the same by baptism admitted people to a voluntary connection with the apostles.  Those people devoted themselves to apostolic leadership and teaching and to connection (fellowship) with the body of believers.

 

It may be a formality, but not all formalities are meaningless.  Church membership will look quite different when the black light of persecution shines on it.

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