i started thinking about church membership yesterday. i grew up in an era where membership meant something different than it does today. and i can't say that it really bothers me. don't get me wrong, though...
when i study about the church, there is no question that relationships mean something. the bible writers talk about the church as a family and a good family is where commitment is lived out, intimacy is forged, conflict is resolved, tasks are shared, trust is built, backs are covered and responsibilities are not optional. it is also where the essence of membership is defined.
i read recently that it's getting progressively more difficult to define a church member, but you definitely know one when you see one. i think i agree with that.
i like it when i hear people say, "this is my church!" i like it when i hear ownership and pride (the good kind) and heart when they talk about their church family. i like it when i hear folks say, "these are my people!" it really means something to me when i learn of people who are willing to lay down their opinions and tastes and wants and differences in favor of friendship and warmth and load sharing and bigger vision.
church membership is all about none of us being as strong as all of us.
i guess there will always be people who say they are members of particular churches. maybe even ours. but don't you think that if you have to wonder whether someone is a member or not, maybe there's a problem? most of us know...instinctivley...whether we are part of the family or part of the team. the same should be true of church.