Membership Matters – by Mike Bartlett

Mike Bartlett is part of the TCT Network and serves as the Lead Pastor of Redemption City Church in Grand Rapids, MI.  You can follow Redemption City Church on twitter here.

Membership Matters

My generation has issues with authority and commitment. So I realize that membership is not a particularly hot topic on the blogsphere.  But before you check out, I want to give you five reasons why membership should matter to you in hopes that you would consider becoming a covenant member of a local church.

  1. Membership matters because members are the church!  The church is not a building, tradition, or event, but a people built on Jesus Christ.  If you are a Christian you are a “member of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19)—a “member of the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:27).  This is massively significant because the church displays “the manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10), authenticates the claims of the gospel (John 17:20-23), and kicks down the gates of hell (Matthew 16:18).  The natural expression of membership in The Church is membership in a local church (Acts 2:37-41, 4:4, 13:1, 14:23, 20:17-35). Membership in the local church is designed to identify counterfeits who would sabotage the calling of the church and misrepresent the name of Jesus (Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5-16).
  2.  Membership matters because it fosters biblical family.  After reminding the Ephesian church that they are members of the household of God, Paul urges them “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called…”  Throughout the New Testament epistles the church is called to share life with “one another” as family.  This New Testament language of “one anothering” fleshes out the relational dynamics of a local church. You simply cannot be a family in one hour on Sunday morning.  Membership demands a higher standard for biblical community.
  3. Membership matters because it mobilizes spiritual gifts for the growth of the church. Paul says in Ephesians 4:11-12  “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,  to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”.  According to Paul, every member is a minster. Paul does not give the leaders in the church to do the work of ministry, but to equip the saints for ministry.  When the members are equipped for ministry, the church is positioned for exponential growth.
  4. Membership matters because it mobilizes money for the mission of the church. Paul’s appeal for generosity comes from the gospel. He says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).  Members who understand their riches in Christ, can part with their material riches to see others experience the riches of knowing Christ.  Membership channels money to the mission of the local church, and the local church is still the best investment for making disciples of Christ, and the only institution guaranteed to prevail against the power of hell (Matthew 16:18).
  5. Membership matters because it mobilizes members for the mission of the church. Peter says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). According to Peter every member is a missionary.  Membership creates a community and a culture where mission can thrive.

By Mike Bartlett