Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Why Should We Join A Church?

Hebrews 10:25 - "Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

A few weeks I wrote a post asking if church membership really matters. You can read that post here. I was surprised how many people shared it and commented on it through social media. The post talked about churches that have a lot of names on their membership rolls of people who no longer attend and the reluctance to remove those names because it makes the church sound "bigger" than it really is.

In this post I want to touch on the same subject, but from a different perspective. In my previous post I focused on the perspective of the church who had all those extra names. Now I want to focus on the individuals who have their names on the rolls of churches they no longer attend. Here is a challenging question, why did we join a particular church to begin with? Was it to please our parents or grandparents? Was it because other young people our age were going through the confirmation/membership process and we just followed the crowd? Were we looking for new friends? Were we looking for business connections that a faith community might offer? Were we looking for a place to have a wedding, funeral or other family experience? None of those reasons are necessarily wrong. But they are probably not the purest motivations for joining a church. When we join churches for these reasons, we are seldom as loyal, committed, and involved as we should be. Joining a church for the wrong motivation often results in an attitude of what can we get from the church instead of what we can contribute to it. We might find ourselves gone for weeks, or months, at a time until a need comes up in our lives that the church might meet.  This is not healthy for us, nor is it healthy for the church.

So why should we join a church? The main reason to join a church is because we agree with their mission and purpose and we want to help move that mission and purpose forward. That does not mean we have to agree with everything in the church, but it does mean that we support the overall direction the church is moving in. It also means we need to do our part to help the church fulfill that mission and purpose. A church filled with people who have this type of motivation will be a healthy church and one that is making a real difference in the community.

Sadly, too many of us want all the benefits of having a church be there for us when we need it, but too few of us are willing to do the work to keep the church healthy between our times of need. That is not realistic. Though churches may be able to eek out some way to survive under those conditions, those churches will not be healthy or making the impact in their community they could be making. 

If we are going to join a church, we must be willing to rearrange our schedule so we are present more than we are absent. We must be willing to rearrange our budget so our financial contributions are enough to actually make a difference. We must be willing to rearrange our leisure time so we can volunteer. This is what it takes to make a church healthy. Yes, it is a big commitment. It is that very commitment that keeps many people from joining a church. But the challenging question we must ask ourselves is, why should we expect other people to do all the work to keep the church there for us so we can just pop in from time to time, enjoy the service, and then disappear for another 3 months? We need to be givers, not takers. We need to be contributors, not users. 

If we have found a church whose mission and purpose we agree with, then we should go through whatever process is required to become members. Then instead of just being a name on a roll, let's be the best members we can be. If we have not yet found such a church, then keep looking because when we find a healthy church and join it, it is a powerful experience worth all the adjustments in time, giving and volunteering.

Lord, help us find a great church and make a genuine commitment to it. Amen.

Dr. Terry W. Dorsett serves at the Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of New England. He has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Terry,
    And when you have done it all, then you will have a really nice Church-Club, and you can be very proud of your achievement :-)

    Look Terry, I have seen that numerous times, and it does NOT work.
    Why not ? well, I think they want to build their own Church and don’t do what the Bible says to do, but do the things the Bible says NOT to do for the sake of their tradition.

    Well, I think it is the Lord Jesus Christ who is building His Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church, and He will not fail.
    And the Lord Jesus does not use a man to build His Church either.

    But as for the other Churches, they come and they go. I have seen it all.