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Why You Should Get Involved In a Church

Why You Should Get Involved In a Church

In an uncomfortable conversation with a young couple, a pastor asked their reasons for leaving the church. The wife said without hesitation, “It’s nothing against you or the church members, Pastor. We just think we can serve Christ better without the institutional limits of a church.”

Ouch. The pastor did not articulate that word, but you could see it on his face. Here was a young couple who to this point, had been faithful in attendance, serving, and presumably, giving. Now they were leaving. From their vantage point, the local church was no longer necessary.

This conversation was not an aberration. It’s taking place more frequently. And, consequently, it is at least one of the reasons church attendance in America is waning.

Does the couple have a legitimate point? Is the local church no longer necessary? Is church membership a vestige of a culture that is no longer relevant or needed?

I respectfully disagree with this couple. Indeed, I would argue that minimizing the importance of the local church and membership in it is vitally important. Let’s look at several reasons why church membership is important.

The Bible Is Cogently Clear on the Importance of Church Membership

Think about it. From Acts 2:42, where the community of believers formed the first church, through the first three chapters of Revelation, the New Testament is written to the church, or it is written in the context of a local church. The local church is God’s plan A, and he didn’t leave us a plan B.

1 Corinthians 12 strongly communicates the idea of membership. Each person in a church is a part of that local body. The body does not function well unless all its members are functioning well. “Membership” in a local church is not only thoroughly biblical, the Bible clearly expects Christians to be healthy and functioning members in the church.

Yes, there are many types of different memberships today. You can be a member of a civic club, a credit union, or a country club. But membership in a local church preceded all these modern examples. And, as we note in the next paragraphs, membership in a church is based on selflessness while most secular organizations typically have perks as a privilege of membership.

Membership in a Local Church is Other-focused

Biblical church membership always focuses on God and others. Its membership is just the opposite of country club membership. The latter is all about perks. Members pays a price (or dues or fees), and they get benefits in return: nice dining and meeting areas, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, and more. Country club membership is all about meeting the desires of the members.

On the contrary, church membership carries the expectation of serving God, serving others, and giving sacrificially. Country club membership is self-indulging. Church membership is self-sacrificing.

So why would anyone be attracted to church membership? As noted earlier, it is a biblical mandate: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25, NLT). But the vital role of church membership goes beyond the biblical mandate. Church members have the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They have the opportunity to make a difference that has eternal impact.

Other-focused membership is more than altruistic; it is making a difference of the Kingdom. It is to be a part of a ministry that will change the world.

Church Membership Engenders Accountability

Not too long ago, I did not attend my weekly small group at my church. Even more, I neglected to let anyone know ahead of time. A pressing business issue took me out of town.

Within a couple of hours after the group concluded that week, I received three texts checking on me. None of my fellow church members were tossing guilt trips on me. They were genuinely concerned. I am a part of a church and community where people really care. And when you care for someone, accountability is natural and positive.

I need accountability in my small group. I need accountability in my worship attendance. I need accountability in Bible reading. I need accountability in sharing the gospel. Because I am in a community of believers who are concerned for my spiritual wellbeing, I am subject to accountability that makes me a better husband, dad, granddad, church member, and follower of Christ.

The Local Church Is a Place Where I Worship with Other Believers Every Week

Our worship on earth is preparation for worshipping together with others in heaven. I don’t fully grasp what heaven will be like, but what I do read in the Bible is magnificent. Look at this scene of heavenly worship in Revelation 7:9-10: “After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar; ‘Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb.’”

I am a member of local church where, like most churches, we worship the living God every week. We come together demonstrating our adoration of God and our desire to show our love to God in worship. The local church at its best is a heavenly preview that should not be missed.

As a Church Member, I Get to Serve My Community

I recently heard from a couple who had moved to the Nashville area, and they were looking for a church home. The wife sensed God’s leadership to a particular church, but the husband had great doubts about her choice. “That church does nothing to serve its community,” he protested. “Let’s find a church where they are making a difference.”

His wife calmly replied, “Don’t you see it, dear? We have the opportunity not only to serve and minister to the community through this church, but we can also start those ministries from scratch. Isn’t that exciting?”

She got it. God gave every church its address for a reason. This lady was not deterred by a seemingly moribund congregation. She knew God had placed that church in that particular community for a reason. She wanted to be part of God’s plan not only to revive the church, but also to be a Kingdom force in the community.

As a church member, you can change the community in which you live. As a church member, you should change the community in which you live.

We Must Change the Narrative

Church membership often gets a bad rap. I get it, especially if church membership means joining something to meet my preferences and desires.

But it is incredibly exciting to belong to something greater than ourselves, something where we get to give instead of receiving. We need to change the narrative.

Church membership is important. It is vitally important. It is God’s plan A to reach and minister to the world. And he did not give us a plan B.

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