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Why Register for our Membership Class? Part II

February 20th, 2015

by Dave Anderson

Prove to me that I should join a church? I admit I can’t show you “membership class” in the Bible. But I can show you Christians uniting together in mission and leadership. If we step back and ask, “what does the Christian life look like? Does the Gospel make us independent or interdependent? Is it important to unite with Christians in a more intentional way than we do with your Costco I.D. checker, Mail person, or stranger sharing a Bus awning on Monday mornings?

Church membership unites you to a family to pursue each other’s good (Gal. 6:1-2; Heb. 10:24-24). Friends can “come for dinner”, but family commits to each other through thick and thin.  Dating couples get serious when they have “the big talk” known as “DTR”—Defining The Relationship. In a DTR, partners define the seriousness of the relationship. Relationships all go through difficulty. One of the things that enable you to keep going in spite of the inevitable difficulties is a formal commitment.  In membership, you have the “DTR” with Jesus’ people at Grace Redeemer. Then, by joining a growth group, you “move in.” By joining a Growth group you say, “I commit to you as more than a ‘smiling stranger’; I’m setting down roots with family.” Commitment is crucial for healthy growth. Membership vows verbalize this kind of commitment  (Eph. 5:21). Joining a K-group, translates our membership vows into life reality.

At a time when roughly 16% of the U.S. population relocates every year, the divorce rate stands at roughly 50%, our natural family and extended family support networks are strained, kids are growing up without the benefit of a father’s presence and single moms are overburdened, our culture desperately needs the church as the family of God. In our culture, we may cut ourselves off from family because of our consumer impulses. We spend much of our lives weighing the merits of products: deodorants, cereal, and shampoo. We ‘shop for’ dentists, doctors, even churches. We can easily begin seeing people, even God as a product whose job it is to make me happy. Paradoxically, one benefit of “family” relationships like marriage and parenthood is being required to put others’ needs on par with, even above my own. Likewise, membership and groups wean us from treating people like products we judge to family we love.

What is love anyway? If someone says, “I love my wife” does he mean, a) she’s got no annoying habits and sin, or b) in spite of her perfections I will enjoy and give myself to her? If someone says, “I love my job” does she mean, a) the sight of my boss Monday morning makes my soul sing, all of my coworkers are soul mates and every task seems like a Caribbean vacation, or b) in spite of it’s imperfections, my job fits my interests and skills well—and I feel God-given purpose working here? If someone says, “I love my kids” does he mean, a) I see halos atop their heads, powder-white wings on their backs and everything they do fills me with wonder, awe and praise, or b) in spite of their sin and shortcomings, I will joyfully give myself to them?  Membership—in by public vow and growth group, trains us to love like Jesus—a self-giving oriented love. Loving the church is not being blind to its defects. Loving the church means, I will joyfully give myself to these people, even though see defects [and things I’d do differently if I had my way].

I’ll be honest. I really can’t show you an 11th Commandment reading: “Thou Shalt Join a Church”. But asking for such a command misses the point—and the big picture. A Christian is someone who, by sheer grace, belongs to Jesus—and Jesus’ people. For tribal Christians living in parts of Africa, membership classes and groups may be unnecessary—your village is Christian and is your  group. But materially rich westerner Christians, need a village to learn discipleship. Membership unites you to the tribe, and K-groups are our “villages” where love is offered and experienced.

Whether you’re just curious or committed, click here to register for our Membership class starting Feb. 22

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