Glencairn Methodist Church
The Benefit of Church Membership
Suppose I were to ask the members of your congregation about the benefits of membership to your church, what answers might I expect? Some might say that they enjoyed the high standard of choral music in the church and that was why they attended. In other places, the answer might be that they enjoyed the lively, modern music in the church and that is why they attended. Or it might be the friendly welcome they receive, or the great fellowship enjoyed by members, or the careful pastoral ministry of the rector, or the vibrant youth organisations for their children. Some might even say that the welcomed to opportunity to worship God in the fellowship of a community of believers.
Let us for a moment consider "the great commission", the last instruction given by the resurrected Christ to his followers before he ascended to heaven. Eugene H. Peterson, suggests in "The Message" that St Mathew might have put it like this: "God authorised and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you." [28:18-20]. This is followed by "And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world." [Acts 1: 8].
"Go out....far and near...everyone you meet...instruct them...baptise them."
For people who had probably never travelled more than a hundred mile from their home, this must have been a scary command. But they did it! They were witnesses both in their neighbourhood and abroad. And they were pleased to do it; they were overjoyed to do it; they were passionate and enthusiastic about it.
The church exits for mission and for ministry! The benefit of church membership is that members have the inestimable privilege of service, the privilege of sharing the Gospel with others, the privilege of ministering to their needs.
How many people in your church would list the "privilege to serve" among their benefits of church membership?
21 February 2008
NOTE - Previous "Monthly Messages" are archived at http://glencairn.connor.anglican.org/previousmessages.htm