Submitting to one another – church membership
I was probably put on the members roll of my childhood church after I was baptised, but the only other church I became a member was the one I went to during university. I’m speaking as a baptist though, as I understand that Anglicans hold a less official view of congregational membership, and I was probably considered a member of those Anglican churches I’ve been a part of.
Why consider membership? I’ve not really thought about membership of churches where I thought I’d only be around for a year or so. Usually I think of membership in terms of getting involved in ministry and serving.
Recently we were speaking with a couple who are also new to the town and church, but who are working for a mission organisation, working with refugees, and they asked us about our thoughts / plans regarding membership. One of the major reasons they’re keen to become members is to submit themselves to church in case they ever need discipline. I don’t know about you, but that’s not a view that I’ve really come across before, but it’s humble, and a really good point! No one like church discipline, receiving it, or carrying it out, but it’s biblically mandated, and making ourselves accountable to our church family is important. It brings a certain focus too – are there things we do / think that we’d be embarrassed or ashamed for our church to know about? Moreover, are we prepared to allow them to have a say about it? In this age of individualistic, consumerist attitudes, community accountability seems foreign, but are we willing to allow ourselves to be part of a community who is accountable to eachother, who submits to one another in love?
Do you think membership is important?
What are your considerations when thinking about church membership?