What Does It Mean to Be a Member of the Church?

On Sunday, April 21st, I had the privilege of teaching our confirmation class. How stimulating and what a joy! The first thing that struck me was the students, eighth grade students who are beginning their lives of faith. They were polite and engaging. The second thing I noticed was the leaders: David and Jennifer Simms, Marian Woerner, and Don and Alice Searcy. The passion, years of commitment, and love of these students is an invigorating and encouraging example of servanthood. I am grateful to be a part of a church where so many adults pour out their lives for children and youth. I have seen and still rejoice in the impact their serving has on our students. But back to church membership, which was the topic on which I taught.

If someone were to ask you, “What does it mean to be a church member?” What would you say? A good question for us to ponder.

The first thing we discussed was “what is the church?” We often say, “I’m going to church,” which implies the church is a place or building. The New Testament word for church is “EKKLESIA,” which means “assembly of people.” We are the church. It’s also important to remember whose church we are; we belong to Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:18 reveals, “And he (Christ) is the head of the body, the church.” Since we belong to Christ, it behooves us to handle one another (the church) with great care.

What affirmations does one need to make in order to join Covenant?
Acknowledge our sinfulness and our need of Jesus Christ to save us.
Believe in Jesus Christ as the unique Son of God and our Savior and Lord.
Commit to live as a follower of Jesus Christ, depending on the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Committing to active involvement in the life, worship, and ministry of Covenant.
Baptism if you have never been baptized.
Pretty simple yet profound beliefs.

Another thing to remember is that God has chosen us to be part of His Church. Ephesians 4:4 says, “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his children through Jesus Christ (v.11) In Him we were chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will…” In other words, we are a part of Christ’s Church by an act of God’s grace, the result of his deep love for us. We are not Christ’s Church because of our good works or because we are better than others. No, we are who we are by the grace of God. (See I Corinthians 15:10.)

What does God want his church to look like? Let me mention just a few things.

God created us to glorify God and enjoy God forever (Westminster Confession of Faith, shorter catechism). How do we glorify God? John 15:8 reveals, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” What does God mean by fruit? Galatians 5:22-23 says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” – to name a few.
I Corinthians 12 reveals how God intends we use our gifts to build up the Body of Christ. Building upon this concept, Mark 10:45 reminds us that if we want to follow Jesus and become more like him, then we are servants, putting other before ourselves.
These are some of the things we discussed in confirmation. Again, if someone were to ask you, “What does it mean to be a member of the Church?” what would you say?” Think about it.

Blessed to be a Blessing,

Hal