Church membership is becoming a thing of the past. Many Christians don’t see the value in membership, or they just want to avoid anything that smells like commitment and accountability. Perhaps you are like me and have heard the following: “I am already attending, giving, serving, etc. What difference is membership going to make?” “I am already a member of the Church at large through my baptism, so why should I join this local congregation?” I am sure you have heard some version of this and more, too.
It begs the question: Why be a member of a local church? What is the value of membership? This question also came up in a recent Leverage Network session, while reviewing the system of assimilation. The assimilation system is for helping people move from guest to member. There are many biblical reasons we give for membership, and they are valuable. I also think it is wise to help people understand the practical blessings of membership. This list was created with my elders for our setting. You may have more or less for your setting. The important thing is to identify the blessings and communicate them to the congregation. Please post what you would add.
- You are known and loved. You have a place where you belong.
- You have an active church family that is there for you to lean on for care, prayer, friendship, celebration, and support.
- You have a place to grow spiritually and experience God’s grace through the Word, Sacraments, service, and the fellowship of believers.
- You are part of a bigger movement of God and have a potential for greater impact on your local community and world through the work together as a denomination.
- You have an elder assigned to you for your spiritual care.
- You have the ability to be in the leadership of the church.
- You have a voice in major decisions of the church (budget, property, buildings, calling a pastor, etc.).
- You can go to your shepherd (pastor) who is well-trained in the Word and knows you, for guidance and care.
by: Rev. Jason Scheler, Mission Executive of the LCMS Southern District