Meaningful Church Membership (Part One): What the Church Is and Isn’t

The picture above is of the congregation of Brushy Fork Baptist Church taken on October 9, 1927.  These people were the church’s members.  These people were . . . the church.

Over the next five months, the front page article of our newsletter will be devoted to the subject of meaningful church membership.  This is something I believe the church today (not just ours) desperately needs to recover.  But before we turn our attention to church membership in particular, we need to make sure we have a correct understanding of what the church is in the first place.  First, let’s consider what the church is NOT.

1) The Church Is NOT a Building

The church is the people, the members.  The building behind those members of Brushy Fork in the picture from 1927 was not Brushy Fork Baptist Church; the people in front of the building were the church.  So, the old children’s rhyme was wrong: “Here’s the church. Here’s the steeple.  Open it up, and here’s all the people.”  It would be better to say: “Here’s the building.  Here’s the steeple.  Open it up and here’s the church.” Of course, this doesn’t rhyme, so it probably won’t catch on.  But it’s correct, nonetheless.

2) The Church Is NOT Your Ticket to Heaven

Some people seem to think that being a member of a church is their ticket to heaven.  Often when I ask people when they became Christians their answer goes something like this: “Well, I guess it was when my family joined such and such church.”  Other people express the same misunderstanding when they want their name left on a church role, but never actually gather together with the church family.  It seems they draw comfort in knowing that they are “members” somewhere.  Of course, this kind of church “membership” is meaningless.  Church membership is not the way to heaven; Jesus is (John 14:6).  Of course, if you’re on the way to heaven, you’ll be an active member of your church (we’ll talk about this in later articles).

3) The Church Is NOT a Last Resort

For some folks, church is what they do when they don’t have anything else to do.  When baseball season is over, then they’re at church.  The examples are numerous.  This too is church membership with little to no meaning.  So what IS the church?

The Church IS a Local Christian Family Committed to God and One Another

According to the Bible, a church is God’s family in any given local area that has committed themselves to God and to one another.  This last part (commitment to one another) is what must be recovered if the church today is to enjoy meaningful membership.

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Grant

Hebrews 10:24-25

About Brushy Fork Baptist Church
We are a small rural church in Indiana that wants to impact its community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

One Response to Meaningful Church Membership (Part One): What the Church Is and Isn’t

  1. Karen says:

    I loved the picture of the members in front of the church! Wonderful article!

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