Why Church Membership?
Maybe you’ve heard us talk about church membership here at BPCC, and you wonder what it’s all about? How do you become a member? What are the privileges and responsibilities involved? Well, the short answer is that a member is someone who is ‘ALL-IN’ for both Jesus and his local church here at BPCC. If you want the long answer, you can always come to our next membership course after our morning service on Sunday 28th October. It will run for about two hours and lunch will be provided as well!
Membership in a local church is such a blessing for everyone involved. I recently read an article from David Mathis, the Executive Director at desiringgod.org. He made some really good points out the wonderful benefits of being a member at a local church. I’ve listed some of his points below. Enjoy reading!
The Good of Others
This is perhaps the most often overlooked reason for joining a church. In our proclivity to self-focus, we consider the reasons relating directly to us, but overlook how our membership relates to others. Our belonging somewhere establishes a base from which we can reliably care for others. There are two sides to church membership, and we can’t keep others accountable for their good to a covenant we ourselves haven’t taken.
True love is not only manifest in affection and action, but also allegiance. We do not fully love our brothers and sisters in Christ if we withhold pledging our allegiance to them by covenanting with them in local-church life. Love doesn’t say, “I love these people and don’t need to covenant with them.” Rather, it says, “I love these people enough to covenant with them.” Living the Christian life in community is more than just loose associations, but committing to each other to be there for each other when life is hard, in sickness and in sorrow.
The Good of Unbelievers
Another good reason for joining a church is the good of those who are not there yet – even those who don’t yet know Jesus. Because we reach out and show Christ better as part of a committed, stable community. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). A lone-ranger Christian doesn’t make the best witness for Christ. Rather, someone who is grounded, has a home, and is part of a solid covenant community of support is best prepared to draw others into the kingdom.
Community is increasingly important in out witness today. As Christians who are truly faithful to the voice of Christ find themselves more and more in the minority of society, we need other believers to point to, that we’re not alone in our seemingly strange views, both in history and today. And the whole community together serves to put Christ on display better than individual Christians alone. This happens best not in fly-by-night, uncommitted associations, but in deep, committed, long-standing, life-together relationships in this time-tested arrangement called “the local church,” established and upheld in the wisdom and power of Jesus himself.
Your Own Perseverance
Finally, covenanting with others now not to let you wander from the gospel, without pressing hard to bring you back, may one day prove priceless for your perseverance in the faith — and your eternity with Christ. It is, after all, as Jesus said, the one who endures to the end who will be saved (Matthew 24:13).
In a good church covenant, we yoke ourselves to accountability while we’re in our right minds, in case someday sin gets a foothold in our hearts and blinds us to the truth. Church discipline is hard, but so good. The purpose is always restoration, and God often has been pleased to use this difficult means to pour out his striking grace.
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19–20)