About 21st Century Church Membership
Have you heard of a man who had an infectious presence, was worth more than all the world could offer, and who brought answers and solutions? His name is Jesus, we believe Jesus is our founder, and we believe he wants his followers to be nurtured within a community.
Because of that, we’ve made a commitment to the community through membership a priority to help every person who is a part of this local church body express the wonder of Jesus’s Kingdom.
Membership is an “all-in” voluntary commitment of an individual to respond to the Holy Spirit’s leading to be identified as belonging to a certain fellowship of believers. Through this relationship, the individual is inviting accountability to the teachings of the Bible, pursuing maturity in the likeness of Jesus Christ, and seeking participation in the mission of God for the global Church and mandate for a particular local Church.
“As members of Christ’s body, we have many ‘one another’ obligations to fulfill, e.g., “Love one another, encourage one another, build up one another, admonish one another,” etc. To achieve these biblical commands, we need one another: We need to know who we are connected to and committed to, and we need to know who we can lean on and who is depending on us. Membership is an intentional commitment to every other member.” (Copyright River Oaks)
God calls his body to be shepherded by a group of church leaders, pastors, and elders. We must know the sheep entrusted to our care and oversight as shepherds. Membership allows leaders, elders, and pastors to know who they have been entrusted to care for and oversee. Below, we see from Acts chapter 28 the call for the church leaders to “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” Holy Spirit draws people to a local body where their shepherds (pastors) keep watch.
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock, the Holy Spirit, has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your number, men will arise and distort the truth to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years, I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
Holy Spirit calls caretakers, i.e., tested, trained, and called pastors and elders, are called to pay careful attention to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made them overseers, to care for the church of God. Membership is a submission to Jesus’ plan for oversight by ordained and called men and women who have the authority to govern, care for, and lead the local church body.
“16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. 17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you—18 Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, to shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.
1. A commitment to the Lordship of Jesus
When a person is born again, that person becomes a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13; 1 Cor. 12:23) and is therefore qualified to become a committed member of a local expression of the body of Christ.
2. A commitment to the local church
The biblical foundation and mandate for commitment can be seen through the life of the early church, the existence of church order and governance (Ti 1:5; Act 14:23; 1Tim 5:17), the exercise of church discipline ( 2nd Timothy 4:2; Heb 13:17; 1st Thes 5:14; 2 Thess 3:13-14, 1Tim 6:3-4), the exhortation to mutual edification, and training of the members to mature (Eph 4:9-15).
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