I Am a Church Member

January 25, 2012

UPDATE: Listen to the podcast episode about this post.

I am a church member.

I will seek to be a source of unity in the church. I know there are no perfect pastors, staff, or other church members. But neither am I. I will not be a source of gossip or dissension. One of the greatest contributions I can make is to do all I can in God’s power to help keep the church in unity for the sake of the gospel.

I am a church member.

I will not let my church be about my preferences and desires. That is self-serving. I am in this church to serve others and to serve Christ. My Savior went to a cross for me. I can deal with any inconveniences and matters that are just not my preference or style.

I am a church member.

I will pray for my pastor every day. His work is never-ending. His days are filled with constant demands for his time; with the need to prepare sermons; with those who are rejoicing in births; with those who are traveling through the valley of the shadow of death; with critics; with the hurts and hopes of others; and with the need to be a husband and a father. My pastor cannot serve our church in his own power. I will pray for God’s strength for him and his family every day.

I am a church member.

I like the metaphor of membership. It’s not membership as in a civic organization or a country club. It’s the kind of membership given to us in 1 Corinthians 12: “Now you are the body of Christ and individual members of it” (I Corinthians 12:27). Because I am a member of the body of Christ, I must be a functioning member, whether I am an “eye,” an “ear,” or a “hand.” As a functioning member, I will give. I will serve. I will minister. I will evangelize. I will study. I will seek to be a blessing to others. I will remember that “if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26).

I am a church member.

I will lead my family to be good members of this church as well. We will pray together for our church. We will worship together in our church. We will serve together in our church. And we will ask Christ to help us fall deeper in love with this church, because He gave His life for her.

I am a church member.

This membership is a gift. When I received the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, I became a part of the body of Christ. I soon thereafter identified with a local body and was baptized. And now I am humbled and honored to serve and to love others in our church. I pray that I will never take my membership for granted, but see it as a gift and an opportunity to serve others, and to be a part of something so much greater than any one person or member.

I am a church member.

And I thank God that I am.

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82 Comments

  • Tim Turner says on

    Thanks Dr. Rainer. I am going to use this in the lesson tomorrow, but also at the our New Member Orientation tomorrow afternoon. Thanks also for allowing us to buy the “I am a Church Member” books to inexpensively. We give those out to new church member family units. It is a blessing.

    In Christ,
    Tim

  • I have been a believer since 1978. I have only been a part of two churches. The first for three decades, and the second since then. The first had no formal membership structure as far as a covenant to sign, or membership classes. The second has those things. I will not be signing a membership covenant. As I explained to the Pastor, I firmly believe the scriptures tell us to be committed to that community of believers in which we find ourselves or are led to. That church. Knowing the truthes in scripture and having the enabling of the Holy Spirit, and the gifts bestowed by Him allow us to do these things. A man created secondary document is not necessary, and possibly an insult to God to insinuate that it is necessary.
    I have seen levels of commitment in both situations. I have seen people wonderfully caring for the pastor and the entire body and others without a signed covenant, and yes I have seen the opposite. and in the church I am now with, you see the same. Folks who signed the covenant uninvolved, and some who have not who are. And vice versa. If we need to draw up a paper and have people sign it we are proving we are in helpless trouble already.
    I will argue biblically until I go to Christ that we should be actively committed to our church. Praying for all there, being a practical help, utilizing our spiritual gifts. I will steadfastly refuse to sign a paper as if that will document or help in the process.
    One last thing. I have read papers that try to use scripture to back up this paper signing concept. The “widows list” Paul refers to in writing to Timothy. Or jus the mention of the word “members”. Its very very poor interpretation. The mention of a list does not describe anything like what these covenants are about. And they interpret the word “member” in the modern usage like “member of a moose lodge”. Its members, as describe early in the blog, and scripturally used, connected parts of one body. Not something you sign up for, or sign to say “yup, I’m in”. Its just SO SO wrong.
    I agree with everything that coincides with scripture. We should be committed to living as what we are, members of the body of Christ. The paperwork is worse than not necessary.

  • How have you heard churches successfully implement the ideas from I Am A Church Member? I want to implement through our Sunday School, but not sure the best method.
    Any suggestions?

  • Hey Thom, I am starting a six week series on “I am a member” at the church I pastor here in WV! Thanks for your insights! Our local newspaper gives me a column every week and will be sharing your contributions in this way as well! I look forward to introducing you and your blog to our 5,000 readers!

    Shalom,

    Pastor Jon Villers
    Lead Pastor
    Philippi Baptist Church

  • I am mentioning this on my website. I am one of two Gospel Project teachers in our Sunday School, and this was linked. This is perfect!

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