Connecting in Christ
It is a danger in American Christianity when church membership is viewed no differently than membership in a club or organization. You attend, pay your “dues,” carry out some responsibilities, and you’re a member. Many seem to think church membership has its privileges; the right to complain, the right to command, etc.
But this is wrong. Very wrong.
The Church is Not a Club
Part of the danger of the club mentality of church memberships is this: we believe the benefits of membership are truly about us. But, according to Scripture, each person is a member because it benefits the entire body of believers. Thom Rainer, the president of LifeWay Christian Resources, says it like this: “We’ve all belonged to organizations where we pay our dues and are entitled to certain benefits in return. The problem occurs when we bring this same mentality to church. Church membership isn’t about having our needs met.”1
The Apostle Paul was clear about the relationship believers have with each other in the local body. Each person in the church has a role just like arms, legs, eyes, and ears have functions in the human body. The distinctions are real and necessary to complete everything God plans to accomplish in any local body. “But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? Now there are many parts, yet one body.”2
Connecting in Your Church
The best way to connect in the local church is not through attending worship. The larger the crowd, the more difficult it is to connect. Connections are more likely in smaller groups where burdens can be borne, concerns shared, conversations held, and life lived together.
Every believer needs community. None of us are “lone rangers.” Paul again reminds us, “So the body is not one part but many.”3 There are no individual bodies of Christ, only corporate bodies. We support and are supported as one body.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul teaches the same truth using the metaphor of marriage, “In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares to it just as Christ does the church, since we are members of His body.”4
To experience community, get connected to small groups in your church. Whether it’s called Sunday School, small groups, LifeGroups, Community Groups or something else, be sure to get involved. Growth happens best in community.
1– BSFL Fall 2014, Connected: My Life in the Church, by Thom Rainer.
2– 1 Corinthians 12:18-20, HCSB
3– 1 Corinthians 12:14, HCSB
4– Ephesians 5:28-30
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