Last month, more than 1,200 church leaders and pastors joined us for Basics 2016 and we were grateful for the opportunity it provided to help strengthen the local church.
Building up the local church was fundamental to our mission when we began teaching the Bible through Truth For Life over 20 years ago. Our emphasis on supporting and encouraging the local church is now more important than ever before. As churches across the country, and around the world, become emptier (or abandoned altogether) on Sunday mornings, we find many of our friends and neighbors asking, “Why does being a member of a local church matter?”
The truth is, for us as believers in Jesus, church membership does matter. We’re called to be united “in Christ” as one body—this is the instruction in the New Testament. And it’s also in keeping with the Old Testament where, in Isaiah, God “tends his flock like a shepherd” (not a singular reference, but a corporate one). There are many reasons to be an active member of a local, Bible-teaching church, not the least of which is because it’s where we worship our Creator, discover our gifts, offer ourselves in service, share in fellowship with other believers, and discover if we ourselves are called into missionary work or pastoral ministry.
The Apostle Paul used the body as a metaphor to explain the vital relationship between the church and its members: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:12-13). In the early chapters of Acts, the pattern of becoming a Christian followed a progression: believers put their faith in Jesus, then were baptized, and then were joined to the Church (Acts 2:41 - 47).
I hope that you’re presently an active church member and enjoying all of the responsibilities, fellowship, and benefits of being part of a local body of believers in your community. And if you’re not, I encourage you to make it a priority to find a Bible-teaching church where you can wholly engage yourself and your family.
If you have additional questions along these lines, our resource this month will be a great help. How Church Can Change Your Life by Josh Moody is an insightful handbook that helps readers better understand why church membership matters and what attributes to look for when selecting a church to join. It’s a good book to pass along to a friend or family member who has found other things to do on Sunday mornings.
With my love in the Lord Jesus,
Topics: Letters From Alistair Begg