This Sunday I have the privilege of kicking off the next round of church membership classes. If you attend Fellowship and are interested in these classes, you can find out more information by clicking here.
But maybe, for others of you, you’re not sure if you want to be a member of a church. You may even wonder why anyone would become a member of a church. And you can’t help but ask, “What’s so bad about just attending a church?”
Well in preparation for this Sunday allow me to give you four good reasons you should prayerfully consider becoming a member of your church.
You should become a church member…
1. To Join a Community
All of us are in need of community. Every one of us needs love, encouragement, forgiveness, accountability, grace, and a whole host of other things which can only be found through relationships with people. In the New Testament the word for “community” is the Greek word koinonia. It literally means “participation”. In 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 Paul used the word koinonia when writing about the sacrament of Communion. His point is every time we participate in the Lord’s Supper we commune (or have community) with Christ. Now the same word koinonia is also translated “fellowship” in Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Believers were meant to live in koinonia, that is participate in community with believers in the same way we choose to participate in communion with Christ. You can’t have one without the other. Jesus even calls the church his body making it even more clear that to participate in the church is to participate in him, or to have community with him. Becoming a church member is saying, “I recognize my need for koinonia-fellowship, and I want to live in community with with Christ and his body.”
2. To Show Up to Build Up
What is the essence of participating in community? It is choosing to show up in order to build up. As Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” There comes a point when believers no longer show up to worship services, discipleship groups, and service opportunities to be served but to serve. Becoming a member of a church is saying, “I want to to spur others on toward love and good deeds and I am choosing this community of believers to encourage.” To take this step is to identify with Jesus in a new and deeper way. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:44-45).
3. To Evangelize Your City
But becoming a church member is not just about encouraging those inside the church. The local church can be the best way to evangelize a community. Mark Dever points out, “When we act together, we can better spread the gospel at home and abroad. We can do this by our words, as we share the good news with others, and as we help others to do so. A local church is, by nature, a missionary organization.”* If you have a love for your community–a heart for the lost at home or abroad–then becoming a member of your church is one of best things you can do to reach people for Christ.
4. To Join Jesus in His Mission
And this led me to the fourth and most important reason: becoming a member of a church is becoming serious about joining Jesus and his mission. I love the video below. Bill Hybels shows why committing to a local church is absolutely necessary for every believer…
If you believe the “church is the hope of the world” because “it stewards the message of Christ,” then commit to a community of believers so that you can, together with other believers, more effectively bring the hope of Christ to someone else.
* Mark Dever Nine Marks of a Healthy Church pp.164-165