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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Why Church Membership

Why church membership? Is it scriptural, Biblical? Wow, how in the world am I going to answer that question! Why am I even asking? (Facebook, of course!)

Let me preface ALL of this by saying, I hate it when Christians bash Christians, when Christians put down the body of Christ. I can't stand it. It a l m o s t makes me angry. I'm not coming down on my close friend who takes the non-commital stance, but I am coming down on the implications.

If there was no local church, where would we deposit our gifts, and I'm not speaking monitarily either. Where would we be stirred? Where would we stir others up? What about accountability, both personally and theologically? What about intercession for someone you've been walking with for a long time? What about committing to a local body like you have your own marriage: for better or for worse? Or worser still! (Time to smile, folks.) We know the scriptures about not forsaking the assemblying of ourselves together, we know about each one coming with a hymn, a song, a word, etc.

What about the benefits of finding a group of people with like minds and vision and passion. Not everyone belongs where I attend. Not everyone has a passion for the nations in such an in your face kind of way as Covenant of Grace. (I wouldn't change it a bit!) It's inconvenient, it's a sacrifice, but it's the beautiful body and bride of Christ ministering to each other, to the Lord, and it truly is beautiful!

The scripture talks about the body being fittly joined together by that which every joint supplies. So when someone avoids coming through the door because they don't want to be trapped, the place you may have committed to is missing out, 'cause God made you to be a blessing. Second, YOU'RE missing out. God has blessings that will come your way through a local fellowship of mutual love and commitment. I see it as a way to mobilize the body. Every church has a DNA, and you should be a part of one that matches YOUR DNA.

Sign a paper? Maybe not necessary. But I have a testimony on that, and I am personally convinced that if you WANT to align with a church who asks that you do "sign", and you don't do it, and you want to still minister under their convering? I can personally say you will never be released to do so completely until you "sign." Throw me out, call me a heretic, but I am telling you this was my own experience. It simply didn't work. The beautiful part was when I did officially join I continued to minister, and subsequently experienced a greater release than I ever had before in my area of ministry. Once I honored their policy and came in the front door, so to speak, it was just a greater place of blessing and favor.

It's also a way to systematically and regularly support those Pastors etc., who are called, and many of them trained, to teach God's Word as their sole occupation. It allows a church to plan, cast a vision, know their sheep, and walk that vision out with like minded individuals. I could write for days on this topic, but lest it take a tone other than complete love, I shall not do so.

The above being said, while I am all about Church membership, I'm mostly all about Christ. In these days and times should the church have to go in hiding, I'm loving Jesus all the way, documents or no documents! I know that HE is the point of our existence, and giving Him glory at every turn remains our purpose. Perhaps this post is just for me to state my position, and perhaps it resonates with you, or, makes you hoppin' mad! (I sure hope not.) I love you all, and I'll look forward to hearing back, either way.

I have not included any scripture passages in this post, but can do so by way of comments if someone wishes to have those listed.


Mari said...

I'm with you - you said it well!
Our church does not ask us to sign, but we do officially join, standing in front of the church and committing to it.
I liked what you had to say about better or worse. It seems people leave for such minute things sometimes.

Susan said...

Oh Kathy, I want to jump up and run around the room and shout Hallelujah from the top of my lungs, but I won't because Mickey is still sleeping :o)

What a wonderful post. No wonder you & Danny and Mickey & I have such a connection, even though I've never even heard your voice. We are cut from the same fabric of God. To say I agree with EVERY single word and point you have written would be to minimize it. It so resonates in my very core and being.

Thank you for posting this. It is so needed. This commitment and dedication is so needed in the Body of Christ in general and in the Local Body of Christ so badly. I need to stop, because there are just not words for what I am feeling. But I will just add this one thing: It is CHRIST who sets us in the Body where HE wants our body part to be and we, as HIS BODY PARTS, need to allow HIM to do so and quit thinking "We'll" decide where we want to "go to Church".

I love you and appreciate your voice and integrity so very much. I hope you truly know how much!!!

Nancy said...

Oh, I so agree! And yes, it is a kind of "marriage", learning to love one another through thick and through thin for better or worse...and when we find we have bumped into the the "worser" it is a good time to consider, that if you never got close enough to someone to cause offense once in a are living a sad life indeed....

Proverbs 27:17 (New Living Translation)

17 As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.

Kathy said...

Nancy, I love your insight in this matter. I had not thought of it from that angle, but yes, I amen what you said.

Susan, in my experience, it seems that the ones who are so allergic to the whole idea of joining a local body (by signature or as Mari stated, by committing before your own body), have so much to give (and don't), yet are the most critical of the church being so "ineffective."

Mari, I love the way your church handles that. It puts people eyeball to eyeball with a commitment to join alongside each other, and hopefully we'll be effective for His glory.

Elizabeth said...

Amen! I love your insight on this topic. Just think of how many thousands of people out there have found Jesus through the local church, and how sad it would be if that were not there. Why would you not want to commit to something like that?

Kathy said...

Liz, that is perhaps the most important point of all. After all, the church is one of the ways the great commission is carried out.

Sandra said...

Kathy, I have to tell you my story about membership. When I started going to church, I went without my husband and joined without him and that felt so empty. The Lord moved me to my home town church years later. Same denomination and I could of had my membership transferred there but I chose to wait until my husband started coming. After years of attending there without him, he is now saved and attends with me. I want to become a member with him now but he doesn't want to join. So now I wait. I wait for him to want to make that commitment but in the meantime, I do whatever I can in that church.

Anonymous said...

Amazing post! I thought about Susan as I read just knowing she would be shouting, LOL.

We have been struggling in our own church. We have found ourselves many weeks just not attending as of late. It's so sad. I long for fellowship and a church family once again. There is definitely a feeling of loss when you are not stepping through those doors and worshiping as a body.

We pray for God's leading in our lives and know He will bring us to the right place of worship.

Thanks for your insight and amazing post!

Kathy said...

Sandra...You walk in such wisdom. Obedience one step at a time pleases the Lord. Thank you for sharing your point in the journey! : )

Ginger...I look forward to someday hearing about that place where you are being fittly joined together. I pray the Lord will fulfill your greatest desires through His body, wherever that may lead.