Have you ever thought to yourself, "Why does my church talk about church membership?"
I mean, is this a club or organization that is driven by numbers and boasting about how many members it has? Do the local pastors beat their chests at breakfast with one another bragging about the number of church members they have?
While some pastors may brag about the number of members their church has and some churches are driven by the pursuit of numbers; I doubt that is why your church talks about church membership.
So, why does your church talk about church membership?
I hope there are a couple reasons why your church hopes that you'll become or remain a member.
First, churches are concerned about membership because we need one another. John 15:12 says, "My command to you is this: Love each other as I have loved you." I believe this command is not for us to love every person in the world (although there are other commands to be loving toward all mankind). I believe this command is for us to love other Christians. As a universal Church family we should love each other as Christ has loved us. But how well can I love my Christian brothers in Chechnya? I mean, I've never met a single person from Chechnya.
The local church is how we can begin to love each other as Christ has loved us. In order to love each other fully we have to be living amongst one another. So, we stress church membership because it allows us to more fully follow Christ's command to love one another.
"But can't I love people in a church without becoming a member?" Yes you can. "Well then, why should I be a member?"
This brings me to my second reason for church membership. Church membership is making a commitment to love and serve with the people of that local church. Church membership is a public declaration of devotion to a body of believers. While this pledge isn't necessarily covenantal, I believe it to be important. I don't know about you, but when I make a commitment public it holds me accountable to that commitment.
Church membership is not a ploy by your local church to win some sort of numbers game. Church membership is an effective and powerful tool to help us better follow the commands of Christ; namely, the command to love one another. Being a member of a church allows you to better love your brothers and sisters and to be loved by your brothers and sisters.
Now, have you ever thought to yourself, "Should I become a member of my local church? Should I commit to loving them and serving God with them? Should I move beyond being just an attender to being a member?" I encourage you to discover the joy of pledging to love a local body of believers. If you're not a member of your church, pray about becoming one today.