Text: 1 Corinthians 12
Membership is about receiving instead of giving, being served instead of serving, rights instead of responsibilities and entitlements instead of sacrifices.
Membership means we are all necessary parts of the whole
The Bible explains “members” differently than secular culture. For example, look at the term in 1 Corinthians 12:27-28:
27. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
The apostle Paul would carry the body metaphor further and explain that members are individual parts of the body. Some are eyes; others are ears. Some are feet, still others are hands (1 Cor. 12:12).
Membership means we are different but we still work together
With church membership, everyone has a role or function. That is why some are hands, feet, ears or eyes. We are all different, but we are necessary parts of the whole.
Each part therefore, has to do its work, or the whole body suffers. “So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. If one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” (1 Cor. 12:26).
Membership means everything we say and do is based on a biblical foundation of love
Most Bible readers will speak glowingly of 1 Cor. 13, commonly known as “the love chapter”. If we could just abide by the principles of the love chapter, we would have completely healthy churches. It would be a revolution! See 1 Cor. 13:4-5.
Church membership is functioning membership
Do you know how to remain a biblical member of a church? Give abundantly and serve without hesitation.
Note the word biblical, you can remain on the roll call of the church and never show up or give. You can remain an “active” member in other churches by being a CEO (Christmas and Easter Only) Christian. You can even be a revered member in a number of churches by giving a nice sum to the church each year, even though you never lift a finger in service or ministry.
This type of membership is not biblical membership. That approach to membership is man-made, man-centered, and man-maintained. It is totally contrary to what the Bible teaches.
The body is a unified whole. Likewise the church is to be unified in its mission, purposes, ministries and activities. The body is not only unified, it is made up of many parts (1 Cor. 12:12-26).
Each of the part is supposed to function. The foot is to walk. The hand is to grasp and hold. The ear is to hear. The eye is to see. The nose is to smell.
We who are church members are all supposed to function in the church. The concept of an inactive church member is an oxymoron. Biblically, no such church member really exists.
Read: Church Membership (Part 2).