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Categorized | From the Pulpit

Church Membership: “Plant your Flag”

Pastor Kevin Reed

Grace Evangelical Free Church

4714 13 Mile Rd, Rockford

I hear this all the time: “Church membership is not found anywhere in the Bible, is it really all that important?” Most Christians have a horror story about membership and how it was elevated to something it shouldn’t be, or made out to be an entrance requirement into the kingdom of heaven.  While it is true that church membership isn’t an explicit command found in Scripture, and that there are many instances where it has been executed less than perfectly, I don’t believe we should just write off the idea of church membership.  

We live in a culture of non-commitment. We don’t want long-term cell phone contracts and we like our gym memberships and TV streaming services to be month-to-month so we can cancel or switch at anytime.  We are okay with making a commitment to something that’s only going to happen one time, but the thought of long-term commitment scares us. We don’t want to be stuck in anything that we can’t get out of quick and easy if something goes awry.  While this mentality may be okay when it comes to gym membership and cell-phone contracts, it is detrimental to a healthy church community.  

Participation in a faith community (church) isn’t always going to be easy and it’s going to require some work at times. Becoming a church member is a way to plant your flag in the ground.  It’s a commitment that we’re not going to just bail when things get difficult. It’s a commitment that says we are here to be part of a whole, and not the whole itself (so I’m not going to make this all about me). It’s a commitment to submit to God-ordained spiritual leadership, which we all need (even those called to lead), to help ensure that we continue to be faithful in our relationship with Christ. Becoming a church member is sort of like marriage. You can say you’re committed, but until you “put a ring on it,” how does anyone know?

Hebrews 13:17 says, “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account.”  Church membership is one of the main ways in which we do that. It’s that moment of “planting a flag in the ground” and committing investment in and accountability to a local body of fellow-believers. If you aren’t a member of a local church body would you consider becoming one? If you are a member, planting your flag was the easy part, pursuing health in the community of believers that we are a part of is going to take some work, but it’s work that’s worth doing.

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union


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