My Christian story is strange, the oddity of my story contributing to my passionate belief in the necessity of church membership for every growing Christian. I was a member of a church before I was a Christian. Then I was a Christian and not a member of a church. Then I was a Christian and a member of a church. Follow? Ok, the story is that I was an unconverted suburban teenager in the 90’s attending an Episcopal church with smells, bells, and multi-colored liturgical books filling pew racks. I’m grateful that my unconverted heart became disillusioned with what “church” was to me at that stage of my life.[^1] After a few years of church non-attendance, and as a high school student, a friend invited me to a YoungLife meeting. It was there that God reached into my life, showed me my sin, made the gospel clear to me, and caused me to be born again. I grew spiritually during those years, and I formed meaningful Christian friendships. But what didn’t happen was church membership. I mean, I did church-hop, attending with whatever friend invited me to church that week. But I didn’t join a church, didn’t become a committed, accountable member of a local body of believers, didn’t have an elder to look after me. That lack led to significant struggle my first year of college. Eventually, that led me to the conviction of what the Bible teaches, that Christians can’t grow into maturity without being a part of an accountable, covenant community of Christians, the type of community the Bible calls a local church.[^2]
I figure you might be in what were my particular shoes, a legitimate Christian who is not a member of a local church. Or your situation might be different from mine, yet still leaving you not a member of a church, and maybe not wanting to be a member of a local church. If this is where you are then this series of posts should help show you the beauty, necessity, and biblical exhortation to be a member of a local church. Even if you’ve been a committed, life-long member of a local church, there should be plenty in my upcoming posts to increase your thankfulness to God for giving us the church. To that end, between now and the next post, take some time to pray and examine your relationship to the church. What words would you associate with your experience? What events in your life contribute to your positive or negative views toward church membership? What Bible verses come to mind as you consider church membership and local churches? Clear-ish answers to this questions will help you get the most out of Part 1, up next.
[^1]: I say “grateful” because even though I wasn’t a Christian, though thought I was, I still recognized that empty religiosity was, well, empty.
[^2]: This is a series of posts. But for the series this will serve as my thesis. So hang with me.
- Church Membership - Speaking of church membership, our next round of membership classes begin in October. Talk to me to sign up.
- Giving - Christ Covenant continues to exist as her members give according to their membership vows. After a summer giving slump, we are predicting a budget shortfall by the end of the year. If you're behind in giving or want to give beyond your tithe, take this opportunity to give to the support of our local church family.