But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8)
Certain life experiences often deepen the richness of certain Scriptural passages.
I’m a first-time father. I’m absolutely loving it! One of the things I love the most is watching my wife care for my beautiful daughter. And if there are two qualities that encapsulate my wife’s relationship to our new baby girl, it would deep affection and personal sacrifice. Taking care of an infant is literally a one-way street. The mother gives and gives and gives with zero reciprocity from the baby (other than the frequent “deposits” she so generously presents us). The baby can literally do nothing for the mom, and yet the mom gives her time, her energy, and her body to nurture and care for her child.
It’s the final exam time of year for most high schoolers. As a youth pastor I get a lot of questions about this time. Sometimes, young Christians tell me that they won’t be coming to church this week because they are too busy studying for those finals.
I get that. I know what it’s like to spend hours at studying for a huge test or writing a massive research paper. I crammed a bachelor’s degree into three and a half years and a master’s degree into a year and a half. I know what it’s like to have a huge amount of pressure or high expectations from parents, teachers, and yourself. I’m not writing about this to add even more pressure to your already busy week or guilt trip you into coming to church.
Imagine with me that you’re looking for a local church and that after a few weeks of visiting a particular one, you begin to grow fond of it. Then IT happens, after the first month of fellowship the pastor takes you out for coffee and asks the probing question: “So, have you thought about becoming a member of this church?”
I find it interesting how people respond to such a question differently. There are those, often new believers, who honestly have no idea what that question means. Others are instantly interested in finding out how they can take this “next step.” Some, however, feel insulted and resist the idea of membership entirely, claiming that it is an unbiblical concept, simply a man-made system that leads to abuse and manipulation. Whatever reactions come into your mind when you hear this question greatly indicates your understanding of what church is all about. The following reasons are just a few of many others that I hope will help guide you to recognize the high priority that the Church must have on membership.
The Barna research group performed a study in 2014 that found, not surprisingly, that a lot of people were dropping out of church. One particularly shocking statistic in that report was the 59% of millennials who grew up in church have dropped church attendance at one point. The number one reason they found why people dropped? “They found God elsewhere.” Many people think they simply don’t need church to follow God. Some even act as if they are better than attending a church. But what is it that Scripture says about the church? Is church optional? If you’re puzzled by these questions, here are a few reasons (among many) to consider.
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