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Church Membership

posted 13 Feb 2012, 10:08 by Peter Booth
Here is a helpful summary of some of the benefits and reasons for church membership, recently written by Paul Webber (thus with a focus on membership at ABC). 

When a person becomes a Christian, they become part of thebody of Christ (the global church, Ephesians 4:4). But this one church is made up of many churches around the world and each church is a body of Christ. Part of what it means to be part of thebody of Christ is to be part of a body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). That’s why we think it’s really important to become a church member.
What difference does being a member make?
1.    Membership shows allegiance and commitment to the church family

We live in a consumeristic world. For lots of people, the big question is, “What can I get?” Jesus calls us to do the exact opposite. In Luke 14:27 he says, “Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple”. We should ask, “What can I give?” Of course, people who aren’t members of Above Bar Church give a lot, but membership helps us to intentionally commit ourselves to blessing the family. It’s kind of like a wedding ring. It doesn’t make you married, but it shows you are committed to that other person.
2.    Membership shows we align ourselves under the pastoral care of the leadership
The New Testament requires leaders to care for the flock in their charge. It tells leaders that they are to have a special responsibility and care for a certain group of Christians.
This is the way Peter speaks to leaders in 1 Peter 5, especially in verses 2 and 3:
“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”
One of the ways the leadership team know who to take care of is by a person showing allegiance to the church family by becoming members. If a person is not a member of a church, they do not benefit from being held accountable by a group of elders or being the special focus of the care of a group of elders.
3.    Membership shows we take responsibility for caring for others in the church
Paul says in Colossians 3:15-16a, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.”
As members of the body we want to protect the integrity of the body. We speak well of it; we give others the benefit of the doubt; we make Sunday services and homegroups a priority. We give sacrificially; we pray for our Sent Mission Partners and uphold the central doctrines of the faith.
4.    Members help shape the future of Above Bar Church
We are a congregational church. The leadership team pray and consider God’s future for Above Bar Church, but they do not have the authority to implement major decisions until they are brought to the church membership and are agreed upon by over 75% of the membership.
Interested in becoming a member?
Church membership is a life-sustaining, faith-strengthening, joy-preserving means of God’s mercy to us. If you see your church in Southampton as Above Bar Church, you should become a member. You need Above Bar Church and Above Bar Church needs you. Talk to a member of the leadership team.

by Paul Webber, pastor of ABC