[social_share sc_id=”sc1″]There is an unsettling trend happening not just with churches in Berea but in churches throughout the United States. The disturbing trend is people who only want to attend a church but not become a member.
In fact I had lunch with a pastor of church here in Berea who said that he wasn’t so sure that people even needed to be members of the church anymore. Now if the pastor of the church expresses that sentiment you can sure bet that is going to spill over to the people in the pews.
This same pastor later lamented to me that people didn’t seem to be committed to the church he was pastoring. HELLO! That piece of news shouldn’t have been a shock to him. After all they were just following his lead!
The reasons for the trend of non-member attenders are not that hard to figure out.
- The aversion to making a commitment to a local church is simply a reflection of our culture.Our culture has a serious problem with not only making a commitment but when or if they do make a commitment they have little or no problem with not keeping the commitments they have made. This happens all the time in college sports. Coaches who are supposed to be the leaders of young men have no problem breaking their current contract if they are offered a better job with more money elsewhere.
- Many churches have a low view of the church. In the Scriptures the church is viewed in corporate terms, in terms of the group. Yet modern day evangelicism has turned salvation into a “Jesus and me” thing, a personal relationship thing rather than teaching that church plays a vital role in both our salvation and our sanctification.
With that rant out of the way here are six reasons why a professing Christian should be a church member.
- Being a member of the church was the norm for New Testament believers. I can hear the house church crowd saying “The word membership is not found in the New Testament!” Right you are, but neither is the word Trinity. Are you ready to kick that to the curb because the actual word is not used but the doctrine is clearly taught?
- Becoming a member of a local church provides you with concrete ways to serve your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Anybody remember all of the “one another” commands in Scripture? Those commands are directed to believers for other believers. If you are not part of a church family then when and where are you going to be able to be obedient to these commands?
- Becoming a member of a local church provides you with a venue to put your spiritual gifts to work. Let’s say for the sake of example that your spiritual gift is the gift of teaching but if you’re not a part of the church then who are you going to teach?
- Becoming a member of a local church provides a spiritual safety net for you and your family. Remember that little verse in Proverbs that teaches us that there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors? We all have some spiritual blind spots and having a spiritual family around us to watch out for us may just save you from spiritual shipwreck
- Becoming a member of a local church is a visible demonstration to others of the body of Christ. When you join a church you make the invisible visible. When you are an active member of the church you are a living example of the body of Christ.
- Becoming a member of a local church exposes you to a more balanced ministry. What I mean is that you are able to get the perspective and insight from more than just your favorite radio, tv or internet preacher.
I know that it may not be very trendy or cool to be a member of a local church. And yes, I’ll admit some churches are stuck in the last century and are frankly an embarrassment to attend (I’ll write more on that later) but just because we may have gotten some things out of whack doesn’t negate the biblical necessity of being a church member.