I Am a Church Member - Thom Rainer (part V of V)
Church Membership Is Functioning Membership
Do you know how to remain a member of a country club?
Pay your dues. Do that and people will be available to serve you.
Do you know how to remain a biblical member of a church?
Give abundantly and serve without hesitation.
Note the italicized word: biblical. Sure, you can remain on the rolls of many churches and never show up or give. You can remain an “active” member in other churches by being a Christian CEO: Christmas and Easter Only. 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.
But please understand. That 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. It has no place in our churches.
Biblical church membership gives without qualification. Biblical membership views the tithes and offerings as joyous giving. There are no strings attached. Biblical church membership serves and ministers as a natural way of doing things.
Biblical church membership is functioning membership.
Again, let’s return to 1 Corinthians 12 to grasp this concept more fully. When Paul was using the metaphor of the body to speak of the church, he did so for two primary reasons. First, the body is a unified whole. Likewise, the church is to be unified in its mission, purposes, ministries, and activities.
Second, the body is not only unified, it is made up of many parts. Think about the parts noted in 1 Corinthians 12:12–26:
The nose (at least indirectly by referring to the sense of smell).
Each of these parts 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.
Such is the reason we are exhorted to know our gifts and abilities, so we can use them best to serve the church for the glory of God. The fact that there is so much diversity in our church is our strength. Everyone has a function. Everyone should be functioning. Everyone should have a role.
Because we are all different with different gifts and abilities, we will function differently from other members. But if we are true and biblical church members, we will be functioning members.
One of the ongoing questions you should ask yourself and God in prayer is: “How can I best serve my church?” You should never ask yourself if you should be serving your church.
If you are a member, you must be a functioning member.
It’s just that simple.