Why Membership Matters

Church Membership
 
 

What if we thought of Church Membership as “Ownership”.

 

After all, members have rights; owners have responsibilities. We believe every follower of Jesus should belong to a community of faith and take some ownership of the mission of that church. Ownership at Heritage Fellowship is about loving God, loving others and serving together.
 
While formal church membership is not explicitly addressed in the Bible, several passages illustrate a couple of important benefits. First, consider the importance of accountability.
 

Hebrews 13:17

 

“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.”
 
This passage is telling us that the church includes accountability. Without clarity of relationships, accountability is difficult if not impossible. Local church membership provides clarity that can aid in our growth and maturity in the body of Christ. When you begin to look at texts, such as Hebrews 13:17, that relate to our accountable relationships and character development, it becomes clear that God’s plan for his church includes a willingness to consider formal submission to authority. Membership in a local covenant community of faith provides for that. This is for our own protection and maturation, and for the good of others.
 
Clearly, the universal Church, or the Body of Christ, is composed of all true believers in Christ. Although there is no explicit scriptural mandate for church membership, there is certainly nothing to prohibit it. Church membership is a way of officially identifying oneself with a local body of believers. Church membership is a statement that a Christian is in agreement with that local church and is willing to be identified as a representative of it.
 
This aspect of Church Membership introduces another benefit. Not only does Church Membership become an aid to accountable relationships in the body of Christ, it can also be valuable for organizational purposes and a good way of identifying those who have expressed a public commitment. Membership expresses a willingness to become a faithful steward of the life of the church.

Consider 1 Timothy 5:3-16.

 

Paul provides clarity to Timothy about how to care for widows in the church and in verses 9-13 we read this:
 
“Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.”
 
In this text we see criteria for who would or would not qualify for Ephesus’s widow care program. The local church in Ephesus was organized, and they were working out a plan for ministry.
 
Church Membership at Heritage Fellowship provides an opportunity to make a public, formal commitment to church body. In addition, it opens the door for clarity in accountability that leads to growth and for participation in governing issues where membership is required.
 
If you would like more information about Church Membership at Heritage, please contact us at hfchurch@hotmail.com


Why Membership Matters

Church Membership
 
 

What if we thought of Church Membership as “Ownership”.

 

After all, members have rights; owners have responsibilities. We believe every follower of Jesus should belong to a community of faith and take some ownership of the mission of that church. Ownership at Heritage Fellowship is about loving God, loving others and serving together.
 
While formal church membership is not explicitly addressed in the Bible, several passages illustrate a couple of important benefits. First, consider the importance of accountability.
 

Hebrews 13:17

 

“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.”
 
This passage is telling us that the church includes accountability. Without clarity of relationships, accountability is difficult if not impossible. Local church membership provides clarity that can aid in our growth and maturity in the body of Christ. When you begin to look at texts, such as Hebrews 13:17, that relate to our accountable relationships and character development, it becomes clear that God’s plan for his church includes a willingness to consider formal submission to authority. Membership in a local covenant community of faith provides for that. This is for our own protection and maturation, and for the good of others.
 
Clearly, the universal Church, or the Body of Christ, is composed of all true believers in Christ. Although there is no explicit scriptural mandate for church membership, there is certainly nothing to prohibit it. Church membership is a way of officially identifying oneself with a local body of believers. Church membership is a statement that a Christian is in agreement with that local church and is willing to be identified as a representative of it.
 
This aspect of Church Membership introduces another benefit. Not only does Church Membership become an aid to accountable relationships in the body of Christ, it can also be valuable for organizational purposes and a good way of identifying those who have expressed a public commitment. Membership expresses a willingness to become a faithful steward of the life of the church.

Consider 1 Timothy 5:3-16.

 

Paul provides clarity to Timothy about how to care for widows in the church and in verses 9-13 we read this:
 
“Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.”
 
In this text we see criteria for who would or would not qualify for Ephesus’s widow care program. The local church in Ephesus was organized, and they were working out a plan for ministry.
 
Church Membership at Heritage Fellowship provides an opportunity to make a public, formal commitment to church body. In addition, it opens the door for clarity in accountability that leads to growth and for participation in governing issues where membership is required.
 
If you would like more information about Church Membership at Heritage, please contact us at hfchurch@hotmail.com


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