"membership has its privileges" Do you recognize this quote from the American Express commercials or ads? It's a great marketing slogan they use to show that if you are one of their credit card users that you will have things you won't get with other credit cards. We'll I'm not sure of that because I've never had an American Express?
What about church membership? What does that mean? Well what it means and how people treat it are two different things. Church membeship should have its privileges as well, but people treat their church membership very loosely sometimes.
Membership to a church or religous group doesn't guarantee your way to Heaven. Many churches claim a membership,but t heir attendance doesn't reflect membership role. A church may have a membership of 500, but only have 75 attend, so I ask what's the point of having membership if members aren't committed.
I think we need to understand that church membership should mean first and foremost that you have made a decision and commitment to become or be a Christian. That you have accepted Jesus Christ the son of God as your Lord and Savior and have been baptized for the remission of your sins. Secondly, if you are a "committed' christian, your church attendance and involvement in your local church is going to reflect your membership there.
The church is not like social clubs or organizations like the VFW, Moose Lodge, Lions Club, Rotary, etc...where you pay an annual due or whatever and attendance and involvement is optional. The church is more than a social setting or organization, it is the Body of Christ. It is a family and community and membership to this body should be taken seriously and mean something to you.
If you want to place your membership in God's church then you should be willing to make a commitment to serve, give, and attend faithfully. Your membership to the church should be backed up by your atttitude and actions. Meaning as you grow in your personal faith and mature, your service to God in giving of your time, finances, and abilities should grow.
Being a member of a certain church isn't a free ticket to heaven. Saying your a christian or believing in a God isn't what is required of salvation and eternal life. Salvation is a process and living a christian life is too and so is our membership to the church. We have God's word as our guide and His Holy Spirit as well.
Churches of all kinds of denominations set up membership classes and polices and some are great and help people understand what is expected of them as a member of that particular church. But, ultimately your church membership and more importantly your membership to the family of God and church body is your sole responsibility.
As a Minister I cannot force my church members to come to church, or give of their time or money or abilities. I can educate them on what God requires of us, or encourage them to give faithfully to God through the church in a variety of ways, and I can help them understand maybe what God wants if they don't know exactly how to give or serve financially or with their time and abilities, but I can't make anyone come to church, be the church, or be committed.
It is my desire today to those who read this that if you are calling yourself a christian, but you are not a member of a church anywhere that you find a church and make a commitment to serve God there. I do not believe a person can be a christian and not be a member of God's church locally. Jesus did not die on the cross and establish the church, for it to have no meaning or be optional folks, we need to read our bibles, church has a purpose and it's the body of Christ, which requires membershp of it's body parts(me and you). Also, if you do claim to be a membership of a local church, are you attending faithfully? Are you committed to not just attending weekly, but you also support the church by giving financially a committed amount(you giving is between you and God and you are giving to God-not the church so don't stop giving if you get mad or don't get your way) and you should be serving through the church in some capacity, whether it's teaching, singing, cleaning, handing out bulletins, whatever the gifts you have find ways to use them in serving God and others through your local church.
Don't just call yourself a member of a church, we all need to be a member of the body of Christ and be active in our faith, serving the Lord, and then our membership to His church will definetly have its privileges.
Ephesians 5:29-31 (NIV1984)
29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[a]