Membership can be a pretty good deal. Whether at a health club, professional society, or warehouse club, membership status provides access to special discounts, exclusive events, and many other perks. Membership is enticing and rewarding.
Earlier this year I became a member of NSCBC. Another gainful membership, right? Well, yes, but no. This membership is different. Church membership is not about exclusive social events or unlimited sermon access. So why did I bother becoming a member when I can attend and be involved in nearly the same way as before?
Belonging to a church is not a casual affair; it’s a commitment. It’s not a “club;” it’s a profoundly connected body of people.
Naturally, a person does reap “benefits,” if you will, by being a part of a church. But, more important is what is invested. I need this body of believers for support, accountability, friendship, and prayer. But in the same way, the church also needs the gifts that God has given me. To become a member is to send a signal to others in the church that I am committed. In relationship terms, it’s similar to the difference between open casual dating and a committed marriage.
We prefer to date the church–have her around for special events, take her out when life feels lonely, and keep her around for a rainy day. Membership is the way to stop dating churches, and marry one. —Kevin DeYoung
You won’t find “Thou shalt be a member of thy local church” in the Bible. But you will find example after example of believers meeting together for worship, prayer, and teaching. You will also find Paul’s teachings that each believer is a member of the body, which is the church, of which Christ is the head (Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 12:12-27). Choosing church membership recognizes and proclaims that each believer is a “member” of the body of Christ and chooses, therefore, to be a member of this local body, NSCBC. Membership is the acknowledgement that, in Christ, the Christian life is not solitary. The very nature of being a child of God draws us into local church membership.
As a matter of fact, too many churches or Christian gatherings look like piles of dismembered body parts, not a body knit together as God’s agent, his body, his kingdom, at work in the world. To reject the value of membership is to deny what God has already established in fact. —Ed Stetzer
So why did I become a member? I became a member of NSCBC because this is where I belong. As a child of God, I belong among fellow children of God. We are all members of the same body and are called to serve and love each other, not in a casual “when I feel like it” way, but in a committed “we need each other” way. Although this membership isn’t the same as other “memberships” I hold, it is a better membership that reflects the work of Christ in myself and in those around me as we await the fullness of his kingdom together.
To find out more about membership at NSCBC, come to Connect II this Thursday, February 25, 6:15pm-7:45pm. Contact Marcia Kercher, Connect Ministries Coordinator, to find out more: email@example.com
Amy McGowan and her husband, Scott, are members of NSCBC. Amy serves on the tech team, helps plan women’s events, and has written for our church devotionals and blog.