While attending church does require some kind of commitment it is not on the same level expected of a member. In this article we look at reasons for committing to be an active member.
"Yahshua loved the church, and he gave his life for it" - Ephesians 5:25
Yahshua's love for us meant He didn't sit in heaven and think dreamy thoughts. He took on human flesh and entered our world. And what's more - He showed us what Yahweh is like, in the face of fierce opposition that led to His death on the cross, though He'd done nothing to deserve it. That's commitment!
Yahshua's committed to His Church. If we're committed to Him, we'll also be committed to His Church - not merely to an 'organisation' but to those individuals who make up the Church. Being committed to Yahshua means becoming like Him, including a willingness to give our lives for His Church.
Commitment appears to have gone out of fashion. This is due to many things, including postmodernism, individualism and consumerism. On many levels a willingness to commit to anything has gone. Committing to a job (or, from the other side, to an employee), to relationships, to the community we live in, to our country... The apparent unwillingness to be involved in anything for the long haul has affected churches, too. 'Church hopping' is so easy with the increase of different denominations and groups. Disgruntled over something at church? There are plenty of others around! You might find another which is closer to what you want (nay, DESERVE!) - until they upset you as well...
Consumer choice in our shopping habits has transferred to Christianity. ("Fed up sitting in a cold building with a dozen old people? Well, now you can worship with hundreds in a comfy auditorium!") Membership swims against the current of 'consumer religion'. We shouldn't be shopping around every year to find a better church. Membership creates community, as opposed to individualism. Commitment builds character because you don't bail at the first sign of trouble. That's not to say that we can never leave a local church - but we'd need a pretty good reason to do so.
Membership helps define who we are and what is expected of us. Membership come with 'terms and conditions' and involves our actively 'signing up'. We need to know what is expected of us. And we need to accept that and commit to it. We do it in other areas, so why think being a member of a church comes with 'no strings attached'? A person needs to know what it means before becoming a member and then commit themselves to the consequences. Sounds a bit ominous, but don't forget the benefits...
This is the ideal and it's what we expect to happen. The New Testament places a major emphasis on the need for believers to be accountable to each other for spiritual growth. Fellowship with other believers is important in order to help each other grow spiritually. Commitment to membership should take spiritual growth to another level. Sure, we help others, but we also receive help. It's a mutual thing. We give and we take. We put in and we take out. But we should be focussing on the giving bit, rather than the receiving bit!
So, that's four reasons. What do you think? Want to get involved? Or want to run a mile? Please get involved with your local church as much as you are able. It will benefit everyone, including you.
1 Timothy 4:12 "Don't let anyone look down on you..."