Where in the Bible are we commanded to be members of, or to join a local church?
This question came from a 30’s something guy who had grown up in the church, but obviously didn’t see the point of formal membership for himself. He’s not alone! There are lots of younger Christians who just don’t see the point in becoming a church member. It may be because they change churches every 6-8 years, depending on the pastor or the student ministries programs available, or they just haven’t found the right church yet. Perhaps you’re one of these Christians, or your adult child is.
But here’s the great irony. People who don’t value church membership, still want “their church” to teach their children in Sunday School, provide inspiring worship every Sunday, to marry their children, bury their loved one and provide counseling when their marriage or family is in trouble. They expect these services be provided, by people who are actually committed to the church, without bothering to be committed themselves.
Here’s the way I approach the “why join” question.
Not a week passes, that I don’t hear reports on Christian radio, in church, or in a ministry newsletter about how many people “got saved” or “gave their lives to Christ” at some evangelistic meeting somewhere.
At best, those claims are made because that’s just the way we speak in the evangelical world. At worst it’s a falsehood. Personally, I believe it’s the former. Church and missions groups have used this language so long that they don’t even think about what a preposterous and presumptuous claim they’re making.
Every single person who came forward, or signed a card, or raised their hand in response to the gospel being preached, was actually, truly, born again? Really?
Last week as I re-read the story of Jesus arrest, crucifixion and resurrection in preparation for Good Friday and Easter, I was struck by Jesus prayer in the Garden, as recorded in Matthew.
“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” Matthew 26:39
Most of us have been praying the original Lord’s Prayer so long, to our shame we barely even think about the words. So perhaps this year we ought to commit ourselves to praying this other Lord’s prayer.
Not my will. But may your will be done. (My paraphrase)
Peter had the same problem you and I have. He had a will of his own. And while at some level he wanted to do God’s will, he apparently wanted his own will done as well. So, after Jesus’ resurrection, he had breakfast with Peter beside the Sea of Galilee.
With Good Friday coming up this week, it’s a great opportunity to teach your children, grandchildren and those you spiritually mentor, about communion. I’m sure they know what it is, but have they prepared spiritually for it?
When I grew up, my church observed Preparation Sunday. The Sunday prior to communion, we were reminded to prepare ourselves, so we were ready to take communion a week later. Communion in our church was serious business. I’m concerned that too many Christians today do not take it seriously enough. What follow is something you might consider reading to your family this week, or forwarding this blog to your friends, to read to their families.