Click here for details and important information regarding our first gathering since the issuing of the stay-at-home orders from COVID-19.
On May 17, we will gather and consider the question, “Why Church Membership?” We will look to see what the Bible teaches about how this glorious, global reality (the nature of which we have studied over the last two weeks) that spans millennia goes local at a particular time to equip specific people and reach a certain community. The following is an excerpt from Jonathan Leeman’s book, Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus.
What is Church Membership? It’s a declaration of citizenship in Christ’s kingdom. It’s a passport. It’s an announcement made in the press room of Christ’s kingdom. It’s the declaration that you are an official, licensed, card-carrying, bona fide Jesus representative.
To offer another clunky definition, we can say that church membership is a formal relationship between a church and a Christian characterized by the church’s affirmation and oversight of a Christian’s discipleship and the Christian’s submission to living out his or her discipleship in the care of the church.
Notice again the several elements that are present:
– A church body formally affirms an individual’s profession of faith and baptism as credible.
– It promises to give oversight to that individual’s discipleship.
– The individual formally submits his or her discipleship to the service and authority of this body and its leaders.
The church body says to the individual, “We recognize your profession of faith, baptism, and discipleship to Christ as valid. Therefore, we publicly affirm and acknowledge you as belonging to Christ and the oversight of our fellowship.” Principally, the individual says to the church body, “Insofar as I recognize you as a faithful, gospel-declaring church, I submit my presence and my discipleship to your love and oversight.”
In some ways, all this is like the “I do” of a marriage ceremony, which is why some have referred to a local church covenant.
Church membership, in other words, is all about a church taking specific responsibility for you, and you for a church.
“Taken from Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus by Jonathan Leeman, © 2012, pp. 64-65. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.”