Last month at our biannual membership meeting we amended the book of church order to refine our mission statement and make some needed changes to the expectations of membership and the covenant we sign committing to one another and the church. These were helpful steps but they are just a small piece in the puzzle of forming a culture of covenant at Reservoir.
Stepping back from our experience now, it is clear that church membership is something those near the church have varied and conflicting views about. Overall in our land membership is down along with commitment to the same body of believers for the long haul. The correlation between the two is undeniable.
But if membership in a local body of believers we call the church is important and biblical, why not invest the effort to make it vital and a thing of flourishing in the church? Yes, we should do that, and it takes lots of time.
At a small church like ours we can wonder what the value of membership is. After all we want to be gracious with those moving slowly in relating to the church and we need lots of hands to accomplish the work the Lord has set before us. While a majority of our regular attenders are members, there are those who are allowed to serve in different ministries and call Reservoir their church without committing in membership. Shouldn’t only members be allowed to serve? Shouldn’t there be some benefit to membership?
Maybe we should recast the question from value to that of purpose. We desire to build a culture of covenant because we recognize the way the New Testament church kept rolls of who was to be cared for in the church. In the same way our leaders and elders look to membership to determine who has sought care and shepherding, committing to the life discipleship of the church. But more than a list, membership is about your ministry to one another in the body.
As a covenant member you are saying “I’m in!” and that you are committed not to some brand of a church but to a body of people you know by name and are united with in ministry. You become a member because you are gifted by the Spirit for the good of the body. Because the people sitting down the row from you need your ministry and participation. Because you recognize the gospel has community implications and this is the community you are ready to live them out with.
The is much more to be said, and honestly we need to and will be saying more about membership as we look for the Lord to form us into a family, a culture of covenant. Committed to His glory and the good of each other.
Are you in?
We will soon have another membership coffee to present our desire for a culture of covenant. In the meantime you can review the Covenant and speak to an elder about becoming a member.