Church Membership, Biblical? Helpful? Part 2

As I say on Sunday mornings from time to time, you cannot be a healthy Christian without being an accountable member of a local church. You certainly can be a Christian, the only requisite for that being faith in Christ. But Christians aren’t just expected to survive. They are supposed to thrive. Membership in a local church is the God-given means for transforming surviving Christians into thriving Christians.

You can think of local churches like Petri dishes. Hang with me. Back when I was in college, I worked in a cell biology lab. My job was to encourage a solution of individual mouse skin cells to grow into a layer of connected, healthy skin. If I took that solution of skin cells and poured it out on the lab bench, expecting it to grow, I would be waiting longer than it took to get my undergraduate degree. Instead, to encourage growth, I’d pour that solution into a Petri dish, lined with a substratum of rich cell food. Inside that dish, those cells grew and thrived. As individual cells in a solution, those cells were alive but couldn’t thrive. But as they cozied up to one another in that Petri dish those cells could become what they all wanted to be, what God made them to be – a healthy layer of skin.

The church is the God-ordained Petri dish for the people of God. God has given believers everything they need to thrive in the means of grace administered by elders (Acts 6:4), the member ministry of spiritual gifts (Rom 12:3–8; 1 Cor 12), and the cyclical seven-day gather-scatter pattern of the body in worship and on mission. Christians who are not accountable members of a local church are just cells on a cold slab of lab bench.

So church membership isn’t an above-and-beyond, only-if-you-feel-like-it commitment for Christians. It isn’t a power play created by church leadership in the second century. It isn’t participation in a civic group, a spiritual fitness club, or a Bible lecture hall gathering. Church membership is how Christians walk obediently in the way of Jesus with one another, trusting him and how he has designed the Christian life to work best. Church membership is fundamentally an agreement with God. It is how Christians receive one of God’s best gifts. You deny church membership to your great spiritual detriment. You embrace church membership to your significant profit.

(Introduction) (Part 1)

Updates

  1. New Members Class - Speaking of church membership, our next new members class is split over two nights—Oct 27th and Nov 1st. Talk to me if you'd like to attend.
  2. Annual Member Meeting - Our annual member meeting is on Sunday, November 6th from 6-7 pm. If you're a member, please plan to attend.