From Airdrie Baptist Church Newsletter Sun 16th May 2010
Today we will be welcoming Jo and Elizabeth into membership of the church. God-willing we will welcome a number of other new members in the coming weeks.
This should cause us to think about the significance of church membership; does membership 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. Much as I believe marriage matters, I believe membership matters. Here are 5 reasons why:
1. We get to publically 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’s hard, and we need God’s help. As we welcome people into membership we acknowledge that.
2. We get to declare publically that we’re not ashamed of our church family
If someone is committed to me- I want them to feel comfortable stating that in a crowd.
3. It avails us of the benefits (yes benefits!) of church discipline
Discipline may not seem desirable, but imagine where you would be (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 Cor 5 or Matthew 18 for more)
4. It means we can have a say in the direction and decisions 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 are big on the ‘priesthood of all believers’ therefore Baptists are big on church membership.
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.
Next Week- Is membership meaningful?
Grace and peace,