Why Membership is Important
Membership is important for several reasons
Membership identifies you with a local church body. As you take your place in God’s family through salvation, it is His intention that you also commit yourself to a local church and become a committed contributor in that church family. The reason for this is simple. Accepting Jesus is a personal, private decision that you make on your own. But living out your faith is a corporate, public endeavor. Our faith is not to be lived in isolation. In addition to that, the local church is meant to be the recipient of the gifts and resources that God has entrusted to your stewardship. And finally, membership provides voting rights and decision-making influence as this local church seeks to fulfill the mission that God has given it.
Christianity is corporate—we were not meant to make it on our own.
In 1 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul tells us that the Body of Christ, though it is one unit, it is made up of many parts and no part is disposable or unnecessary (v 12-27). You are a member of Christ’s body, the Church, and you are a necessary part. At the same time, you have a responsibility to the others because you are one among many. Membership formally signifies that you recognize and accept this responsibility.
Membership is a promise to embrace life within the community.
It is a pledge to discover and use your spiritual gift(s) (1 Peter 4:10), to fulfill the “one another” commands (ex. Romans 13:8), and to follow the leaders of the church (Hebrews 13:7). Beyond this, God will lead various churches to pursue ministry in a variety of ways. And membership is a promise to participate in ministry as God leads Community Church to pursue it. Specifically, this means that small groups, CLD’s, and other such ministries should be given priority.
Membership compels us to release our personal agenda and accept God’s vision for this church.
Often people walk into the church with an individual agenda that is revealed in comments like: “I hope I get something out of it today.” — “I am looking for a church that I really enjoy and feel comfortable in.” — “I didn’t really care for the worship at that church.” — “That church is always talking about missions, and I’m not really into that.”
These kinds of comments reveal a me-centered mindset that needs to be replaced with a God-centered and others-oriented perspective. Members move in that direction because they come to understand that it is not primarily about them or their preferences. It is fundamentally about God and His mission for this local church.
Membership creates a platform for “mutual” expectations.
Each of us brings a unique set of expectations to the church. Disappointment, hurt, tension, and sometimes division are created when personal expectations aren’t met. Membership creates a platform upon which “mutual” expectations are expressed, explained, and accepted. Together we come to understand what is expected of me towards you and you towards me.
Membership provides a measure of protection against the schemes of the Enemy.
1 Peter 5:8 tells us the devil is like a prowling lion looking for someone to devour. And like a lion, he will often stalk the weak, tired, or isolated prey. This is why we are told to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10), to “never grow weary of doing what is right” (Galatians 6:9), and to “not be absent when the church gathers” (Hebrews 10:25). Membership provides a measure of protection against the Enemy simply because active, contributing members are not weak, tired, or isolated.
What can be expected from the church
On our side of this two-way covenant, we commit ourselves to the following:
- That our teaching will be true to God’s Word, the Bible, and free from manipulation and shame.
- That our leaders will be servants and equippers who lead primarily by example.
Healthy Relationship Patterns
- That our environment will be one where sin, weaknesses, and shortcomings can be discussed openly without shame.
- That our attitude will be one of acceptance, regardless of a person’s past.
- That we will encourage people without apology to grow in Christ-likeness in all facets of life.
- That we will respond to disappointment, conflict, and sin in a manner consistent with the Bible.
Scrutinized Financial Practices
- That we will be fiscally responsible and accountable.
- That our financial books will be open for examination (donor information remains confidential).
Reaching Into Our Community
- That we will proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ without apology in our services and through our ministries.
- That we will pursue ministry methods that are relevant in our culture and effective at reaching people.