This blog is the combined effort of four senior pastors of different churches. Their desire is to point you toward living a God-centered, gospel-focused, Christian life.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Church Membership

This Sunday and next, Dave Robinson will be teaching "Bethany 101" during the 9 AM hour for those who are interested in church membership or who simply want to find out more about Bethany Community Church.

If you’re not a member of a local church, I wanted to commend church membership to you. In his short book Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus, Jonathan Leeman argues we need a radical paradigm shift regarding church membership. We believe that church membership is like joining a club but Scripture describes our relationship in a radically different way.

Leeman begins his book with five big ideas:

1. “Just as the Bible establishes the government of your nation as your highest authority on earth when it comes to your citizenship in that nation, so the Bible establishes the local church as your highest authority on earth when it comes to your discipleship to Christ and your citizenship in Christ’s present and promised nation.”

2.  “When you open your Bible, stop looking for signs of a club with its voluntary members. Look instead for a Lord and his bound-together people. Look also for other forms of unity (brothers and sisters in a family, branches of a vine, etc.).”

3. “A local church is a real-life embassy, set in the present, that represents Christ’s future kingdom and his coming universal church.”

4. “A church member is a person who has been officially and publicly recognized as a Christian before the nations, as well as someone who shares in the same authority of officially affirming and overseeing other Christians in his or her church.”

5. “Christians don’t join churches [like joining a club or organization], they submit to them.”

Sometimes people object to church membership because it seems too formal. I understand that but I would encourage you to consider that this type of relationship God calls us to participate in together is a formal relationship. We each have real responsibilities in that relationship. For those who are regular attenders of Bethany Community but not yet members, I encourage you to spend the next two weeks with Dave and consider God's call to commit to your brothers and sisters in Christ.

By His Grace,

Pastor Daniel