What Does It Mean To Be a Member of a Church?

After some googling around its obvious that most people have no clue what it means to be a member of a church. Many have an idea, some think you should be a member, but few can clearly articulate why they are members of a particular group. Others think “church membership” is unscriptural. If we are the body of Christ, Jesus implies we have function and we have members. Paul furthers this idea in Romans 12. So what does it mean to be a member of the body? Romans 12 gives us plenty of clues, as does the rest of the Bible, and it seems to revolve around deep community and purpose. Jesus’ bride, the church, doesn’t have non-functioning members; in a human body we call those parts cancer or death, and we would remove them. So do you know what it means to be a member of the body? Let’s explore.

First, let’s identify what it means to be someone who attends a church service or church activity. Each week a group of Christ’s disciples, the Singing Oaks church, meets at 101 Cardinal Dr. for worship services, Bible classes and other activities. Anyone, and I mean anyone, is invited to come and join with them, and many people do. Some of these people who attend are referred to as guests or visitors. They may or may not believe in Christ or have committed themselves to God. Regardless of the name, these are people whose primary interest seems to be, at least initially, to seek out the answer to the following series of questions: Who are these people? What will they do for me? Do I like what they have put together? Did I get something out of the service, class etc.? Or more plainly; what can this church do for me? They are, just initially consumers, and hopefully, just initially.

Second, let’s identify what it means to be an exclusive guest/visitor. Many people, once they have answered the questions in the previous paragraph, seek to make it known that they want to exclusively attend the religious activities these disciples organize and offer. In other words, they like what they are consuming and have at least in some capacity made it known that they aren’t going anywhere else. This second phase is where a lot of Christians seem to arrive and stay and it’s still passive participation. We really don’t have a name for this category of people. Some call themselves members and others refer to them as such. Others in this group don’t want that title. But I will argue that people in this category are welcomed and loved, but aren’t members, at least not yet.

So what is a member? First, they are not a church consumer. They have moved past the dating relationship, past the exclusively dating relationship, and have entered into covenant. They are family. They take ownership, not just of the building, the worship services, and the busy activities of the church, but of each other. They are the Christians that recognize their job isn’t to be spectators and attendees but to be in deep relationship. They recognize, accept, and pursue God’s calling in them to use their gifts, given through the Holy Spirit, to do works of service. Church members are ordinary people who not only know what it means to be a Christian, but who actively seek to disciple others to Jesus. They walk alongside Jesus and each other building each other up. They seek to answer these questions: What does it mean to love others? What can the Spirit of God do through me for these people?

In Luke 13 (NIV84) Jesus says, “Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets. “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers.”

Being a member is more than listening to others teach. It’s more than eating and drinking the food that has been prepared. It’s more than having a title or a name tag. Is that the only requirement you would have for a member of your household? Jesus doesn’t want to be married to a passive consumer, he wants a bride. Jesus wants a body who actively loves Him and who actively loves what He loves.

Other Posts You Might Like:

There Is More…There Is Power - Ross Thomson

Daily - Bob Bentley

Communities in Schools - Laurie Templeton

Fruit - Beau Davis

Change or Transformation? - Casey McCollum



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McKinney at Cardinal

101 Cardinal Drive
Denton, TX 76209



Sunday Worship Schedule
9:30 - Worship (English Service)
10:10 - Bible Class (Birth to 8th grade following the Kid's church time until the end of service)
11:00 - Worship (Spanish Service)

Wednesday Evening Schedule
6:30 - Celebrate Recovery

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