We are in the middle of a growth spurt as a church, and so there are many things that we need to remember and be reviewing both for all the new folks but also for all the old folks who might have forgotten.
For example, what is church membership? Some people have thought that church membership is something modern bureaucrats cooked up, but we practice church membership because the Bible teaches us to.
“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their lives… Obey them that rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give an account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:7, 17)
So Christians are required to be in submission to particular men who teach them the Bible and follow their examples. This means you ought to know the names of your pastors and elders, and you should know at least some them well enough to be able to say, I hope my kids turn out like theirs. Likewise, it says that these same elders watch out for your souls, and they must give an account to God for their care of you. This means that they need to know your name and have a general sense of how things are going in your life. This is why as our church has grown, our parish elders have recently reorganized how they are trying to keep up with folks. And if you are a member and you haven’t heard from an elder within the next few months, you should probably check in with the church office.
To become a member you merely need to profess faith in Christ and be baptized and be interviewed by a couple of elders. They report back to the full session of elders who formally receive you, and we schedule a Sunday morning for you to come forward and take the membership vows.
What’s the point of all this? The apostle says that the goal is actually joy and growth. It’s a huge blessing to know you are part of a body, that we’re all pulling in the same direction, fighting and killing our sin, and running together toward Christ.