What Formal Membership ISN'T...
Membership means perks. Membership means privileges. Membership means others will serve me. Unfortunately, this understanding of membership is what many church members hold.
It's a view more aligned with country club membership. For them, membership is about receiving instead of giving, being served instead of serving, rights instead of responsibilities, and entitlements instead of sacrifices. This wrongful view of membership sees the tithes and offerings as membership dues that entitle members to a never-ending list of privileges and expectations, instead of an unconditional cheerful gift to God.
A Biblical Understanding of Membership
- a declaration of citizenship in Christ’s kingdom.
- the declaration that you are an official, licensed, card-carrying, bona ride Jesus representative.
- a formal relationship between between a church and a christian characterized by the church’s affirmation and oversight of a Christian’s discipleship.
- where church formally AFFIRMS an individual’s profession of faith and baptism as credible.
- where an individual formally submits their discipleship to the service and authority of this church body and its leaders.
To be a MEMBER of something is, by definition, to be SOMETHING that others are not… to be included in something that others are not. And this sounds dangerously exclusive doesn’t it?
The truth is, ALL KINDS of people come to church on a Sunday morning or to ROCK midweek or women’s events or even to small groups. They’re all at different stages in their spiritual journey… from atheists to fully devoted followers and we WANT them here.
But in reality, there is a delineation … a line in the sand that needs to be drawn.
Sure, you can remain on the rolls of many churches and never show up or give. You can remain an “active” member in other churches by being a CEO Christian: (Christmas and Easter Only).
Biblical church membership is functioning membership.
1 Corinthians unpacks this using the analogy of the body. The foot is to walk. The ear is to hear. The nose is to smell. We who are church members are all supposed to function in the church. The concept of an inactive church member is an oxymoron. Biblically, no such church member really exists.
We don’t ask every person who walks through these doors to be baptized or to give or to serve or to sign off on a statement of faith or to be part of the pool of leadership or to submit themselves to a certain moral standard, or to vote on budgets and thereby take ownership of these things, but we ask members to do all of that.
Members are the people we can truly count on and who can count on us and we can mutually submit to each other and hold each other accountable and even discipline when necessary.
4 Simple Steps To Becoming a Formal Member at NAC
1. Attend a Membership Info Meeting
We schedule these semi-regularly throughout the year. The whole class is less than 2 hours.
It has taken place over ZOOM, in-person, and sometimes over lunch on a Sunday afternoon.
Let me know of your next "Membership Class"