What We Believe About Membership, and Why
Membership. It’s a word that seems to stir up all kinds of negative emotions and thoughts in God’s people. Why? Well, part of the reason could be that people have had a bad experience in a church where membership meant ownership. Another reason and the more likely of the two, is the big C word; Commitment. People don’t like to make a commitment because it means, well, they have to be committed. They say or think things like, “Membership means I will have to show up at meetings, give of my time, money, effort and be involved with people and their problems and all that is just too big a commitment for me.”
We at Living Hope believe and have experienced that one of God's ways to the abundant life is through making a commitment to one another. We believe that the gospel calls us to do so. Certainly one cannot doubt the commitment of our Lord to His body (His church) and it is not unfair to expect the members of the body to be committed to one another. The Bible says that we are members of one another. This forms the basis for membership.
Here is a list of a few things that the scriptures call us to be to one another.
• We are to have peace with one another
• Love one another
• We are to be kindly affectionate to one another
• Receive one another
• Admonish one another
• Care for one another
• Serve one another
• Receive one another
• Comfort one another
• Edify one another
• Exhort one another
• Pray for one another
If I had a friend who did all of the above for me I would consider them to be my very best friend. I would say that they are committed to me.
Can you see that commitment, and therefore membership, are meant to be blessings from God and that only through mutually committed relationships can we enjoy the riches of 'one another'?
We also believe that we can only fulfill the great command to love another and the great commission to go into all the world as we are in committed, godly relationships with one another. This, to us, is membership. A commitment to one another to help one another to honor the One who loved us and gave Himself for us, and to serve His purpose in our generation.
If it’s time for you to step up into membership, CLICK HERE for our application form (pdf)
Fellowship is one of those amazing opportunities we have as Christians to stir up one another to love and good works. True fellowship is not simply being together and talking about ‘whatever’, rather it’s sharing together about our common salvation. It about stirring one another’s hearts with the truth about every good thing that is in us in Christ Jesus. Christian fellowship should ignite our hearts as Jesus did when He was on the road to Emmaus with the two disciples. After their ‘fellowship’ with Jesus they declared, “Did not our hearts burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” As we fellowship with one another we should be passing to one another the flaming torch of the knowledge and passion we hold in our hearts for our Savior. It’s me igniting you and you igniting me so that we together can burn brighter and stronger for Jesus. This is fellowship.
:: I'M LOOKING
Contributed by Tracy Bledsoe
Before I came to the Cape and eventually to Living Hope I belonged to a really big church near New York City, which had about 3,000 members. I was pretty much a loner, and doing what I thought was just fine – I was attending service on Sunday! Then the Holy Spirit advised me that I was, in fact, eligible to attend all services, unless I had a Godly excuse not to. Once I got the hang of it I really began to grow spiritually and hunger after God in an entirely new way. I joined in with some ministries and really began to know people for who they were, not for what they appeared to be or who they said they were.
Coming to Living Hope was a huge transition. Even in a small church it’s possible to feel alone if you’re not involved. My sense of belonging, my relationships and personal satisfaction have been rooted and grounded in 2 things: my life group experience, and my involvement in ministry. They are very different, because the life group is more like being in a close family, where we receive and provide support and are helped to maintain accountability for any area of life. Ministry is more like being on a team, as we bring challenges, stretch beyond comfort zones, exhort and build up. I learned here at Living Hope that we are all supposed to be ministers, not just the Pastors and Elders.
The benefits have been huge and I wouldn’t trade them for any amount of supposedly “free” time. I have brothers and sisters here who know me and are helping me grow in the things of God, to find His strength and receive His Love in times of trial. To me, this is priceless, better than silver or gold.
So if you have the experience of being unsure what fellowship fits you, fear not! Send us an email telling us about your interests and we’ll help you to join in where you fit. Or to explore our Life Groups, CLICK HERE.