Our congregation was enriched yesterday with a whole lot of faces who made vows before God and man to join our local church. In my exhortation to the new members I noted:
“To be joined to a local church is one of the most counter-cultural decisions you will ever make and I am sure glad you have not allowed modernity’s individualism to shape your view of the Church.”
Over the years I have heard stories and met individuals who refused to join a church for a host of reasons. Some had been attending a particular church for over ten years and yet, refused to become a member.
In some cases, they have some fear of submitting to anything; some are said to be waiting for the right time; others are still hurting from some past church experience and are now forever fearful of a repetitive cycle; still, some are just naive of what membership means altogether.
My encouragement to those engaged in a local church, committed to a local body, a regular attender of a local congregation, fed by a local pastor, enriched by local fellowship, is to walk up to the pastor as soon as possible and say: “How can I formally join this body?”
It is entirely possible that after such commitment to membership occasions might arise where you will have to leave to another church and memberships will be transferred. This is all possible. But what you cannot do is act as if you can benefit from a local body, enjoy the blessings of family life and yet refuse to formally join such a body.
You cannot claim the universal church by despising its expression in the local church.