Friday, January 11, 2013

Church Membership

This season of transition has made us acutely aware of the importance of church membership in the believer's life. We all know people who believe (falsely) that they don't need to be a member of a local body. But, church membership is so critical.

Jesus Christ died for the church. He loved the church so much that he died for it (Ephesians 5:25). Yet, many who claim to be followers of Christ sacrifice nothing for the church. Many even deny that they need church membership.  Please don't mistake me for comparing church membership to just having your name on a roster. Instead, I am referring to the corporate study of the Scriptures, worship, accountability, discipline, and fellowship that should be a part of church membership. This is church membership and it is vital to the life of a believer.

Sunday, we ended the season of being believers disjointed from the body; we joined Orange Park Bible Church. We are excited to be a part of this body. We pray that we will be an integral part of the ministry there.

We know that being members of a Biblical, like-minded church was a necessity  We could not survive apart from the body.  The Bible tells us that we need to be apart of the local assembly. The Bible compares members of the church body to parts of the physical body (1 Cor.. 12:12). What happens to an arm, leg, or finger that is detached from the body? Surely, it can not serve its purpose and, ultimately it would die unless reattached.

This little church has already demonstrated the love and grace of God to us in VERY tangible ways (meals, job, living arrangements). We do not deserve the kindness that has been shown to us, but we praise God for it.

Before we joined OPBC, we had to complete a new members class. The day that we joined, the pastor had all of the families who were joining stand in the front of the church while he shared a little about them. When he got to us he began to tell the story of all God had been doing over the past couple years to bring us to this point - membership at this church. I teared up. I so appreciated his reminder that God has been sovereignly working over years to bring us here. For me, it is such a temptation to become discouraged by the stuggles of this week, this month, and this season; I quickly forget that God has been working much longer than that. What a sweet reminder to hear the events of the past couple years and be reminded how God has worked.

We eagerly anticipate how God will use us here. I pray that if you are reading this, and do not have a church home you will realize the importance and begin seeking a place of membership.

If you are searching for a church to call home, I encourage you to read 9 Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever.