“Why should I join a church when I can just church-hop, church-shop, podcast, or live-stream from my living room? What’s the point of being a member?" You may not have ever consciously asked that question, but you’re definitely answering it by whether or not you choose to join a local church. If you’re a young adult and are not a committed church member, you’re not alone—Millennials are notoriously disconnected consumers in this area. Well actually, you ARE alone, and in a way that really matters, since you’re missing out on one of God’s greatest gifts to you.
Last Tuesday at the Porch we talked about how important it is to connect deeply with the body of Christ by joining a local church. While there isn’t a verse that says “you must join a church” in those exact words, the Bible has a lot to say about being in committed relationships with other Christians. So, why should you join a church?
1. To surround yourself with God’s people
Christianity is a team sport. One of the most commonly repeated themes in the New Testament is “one another.” There are 50+ verses that talk about how Christians should relate to, honor, love, and care for each other. Our faith is not one that’s lived out in isolation; it’s expressed in how we love God and love others. You don’t need to be a church member to love people, but it gives you a great place to live out the “one another’s” in community.
Take a look at Hebrews 10:23-25. You’ll see a lot of “we”, “us”, “one another”, and “together”, and not a single “I” or “me”. The focus of this passage and others like it is that we should hold tightly to unity and not give up on meeting together with other Christians. Does that sound like church-hopping, church-shopping, or only podcasting or live-streaming from your couch?
You want to be really careful in who you surround yourself with. You need to choose your friends carefully, because the wrong ones will lead you astray. Spend time with wise people, because harm is coming your way if you spend it with fools. Surround yourself with God’s people by joining a church that puts a priority on living in authentic biblical community.
2. To submit yourself to godly leadership
We’re all led by somebody—who are you following? God has set up the local church as the place where every Christian should be able to follow godly leaders. Hebrews 13:17, which is written to a local church, tells them to obey their leaders and submit to them, because the leaders are accountable for keeping watch over their souls. Being a part of a local church defines which leaders you need to be listening to, and which ones are watching over you.
If someone is keeping watch over your soul, wouldn’t you want them to do a good job? Acts 20:28 tells church elders to pay careful attention to themselves and to those God has entrusted to their care. The role of an elder is no small thing, and you want to be under the leadership of people who take it seriously. Submit yourself to godly leadership by joining a church whose elders are committed to knowing and following God’s Word.
3. To serve God’s mission
Did you know that you are uniquely gifted to serve God and other people? Romans 12:4-8 tells us that each member of the body of Christ has gifts that they should fully deploy. Verse 5 makes a powerful point that each member belongs to all the others. This means that your gifts aren’t just yours to do whatever you want with; they were given to you to play a role within the body of Christ. Whatever your gifts are, you should use them to faithfully serve others.
Using your gifts in the church doesn’t mean that the only serving that counts is what you do on Sundays. What it does mean is that you should go all in to make your gifts available to the local church, both to serve the body of Christ and to be ambassadors for Christ to those who don’t know Him. Be on God’s mission by joining a church that’s committed to serving one another and seeking the lost.
Taking the Next Step
If you attend Watermark but have never joined, you can check out our membership class. It happens every month or two, and is a great way to learn more about the church and take a step toward joining. You don’t become a member just by going to the class, but it’s the first part of the process and you’ll hear how you can get fully plugged in.
If you go to another church, find out what their membership process is, and go through it. It may not be as formal as going to a class or signing a membership covenant, but the important thing is that you express, live out, and hold to a commitment to that local church in all the ways God calls you to.
Want to connect to the greatest movement the world has ever seen? Join a church.
Some questions to think about:
If you are a member: What were your reasons for becoming a church member? What value do you see in being a member of a local church? What Scriptures informed your decision?
If you are not a member: Have you considered local church membership? What’s holding you back from committing to and joining a church? What Scriptures are informing your decision?
For everyone: What should you do in response to the call to church membership? What can you do yourself? What can you encourage others to do?