There is a very disheartening trend in the church today toward people believing that church membership does not matter. I hear people make a wide range of comments indicating that lots of very good Christians no longer think that there is value in belonging and being committed to a local body of believers. I could not disagree more.
In fact, if you told a believer in the early Church that belonging or commitment did not matter, they would be outraged. Being a committed part of the local body of believers was huge to first century Christians. Since many first century believers would have been cut off from their family and friends, belonging to the Church Body meant everything.
Granted, the New Testament believers did not have a membership class or covenant, but you can bet that believing the same things and belonging to Christ’s movement were essential to their spiritual journey. New Testament Christians were committed, and belonging did matter. Jesus’ very first call to His disciples was a call to commitment and belonging. When He said, “come and follow Me,” He was asking them to join His missions and His movement. Jesus never apologized for asking people to commit.
The concepts of commitment and belonging are not dead today: they are simply misplaced. Contemporary culture doesn’t think twice about joining Amazon Prime, Netflix or a favorite workout place. People wear their favorite team jersey or hat with no problem. Inside all of us is a need to belong and be part of community – the only problem is deciding which community is important.
The only person that would love to see Christians no longer be committed to belonging or membership is our spiritual enemy. If the enemy could convince Christians that being a member no longer matters, he successfully makes the Church of Jesus Christ a little weaker. If Christians are the bride of Christ, wouldn’t a commitment to the groom be appropriate? I think so.
Don’t get sucked into the trend that says membership does not matter. In fact, if there is any organization on the planet where you want to belong, it is to the Body of Christ. Make your allegiance known. Put your name on the bottom line. Be proud to belong to a local fellowship of believers where you are committed to believing in the same things and belonging to each other. Be part of the mission and movement of Jesus Christ.
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