This last Sunday, we saw in Romans 12 that a life shaped by the mercies of God is first and foremost corporately shaped, and apart from a committed connection to a Christian community, we will never rightly live out a sacrificial transformed devotion to God. Remember, when you came to faith in Jesus, God graciously gave you the capacity to function well as a member of a body (Romans 12:3-5). This means we have to rethink what church and church membership is really all about. Be very careful to not let Costco, LA Fitness, or AAA hijack your understanding of these things. There is all the difference in the world between being a member of a club and a member of a body.
The word member originally described a part of a body, so in the New Testament, the terminology of church and membership is not about a weekly event; rather, it is in reference to a body and its parts. This is why we say that church is not a place you go or an event you attend; it’s a body to which you belong, and that belonging is built on a mutually recognized commitment to Jesus and one another.Church is not a place you go or an event you attend; it’s a body to which you belong, and that belonging is built on a mutually recognized commitment to Jesus and one another. Click To Tweet
In other words, membership is so much greater than just having your name on a list, or gaining voting privileges. We must understand membership in terms of a mutually recognized, vital relationship that is committed to helping each other stay faithful to Jesus for the sake of His reputation in this world. This means that each church member needs embrace that biblical identity and commit to the privileges and responsibilities of a member.
In What Is a Healthy Church Member? pastor and author Thabiti Anyabwile seeks to biblically explore what healthy church members are.
A healthy church member is someone that, in one sense, shares all the sensibilities of a good pastor. (Thabiti Anyabwile)
This Summer, we are encouraging each member to get a copy of this book and read through it. It will be most helpful if you’ll read through it with other members of the church and discuss it together. You can get a copy of the book (hardcover or Kindle) through Amazon.
Maybe you are curious about what membership means from a Biblical perspective. We invite you to learn more about the local church and church membership in our Lebanon 101 class.