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A Biblical Case for Membership
"Membership"... sounds outdated and boring, and maybe a little abusive or controlling.
Biblically, that's the furthest thing from the truth. We are convinced that "loving each other" is a farce if we aren't committed and submitted to one another. Here are a few reasons it's so important to us:
Membership IS biblical. Consider Matthew 18:15-20. This is the first clear instruction Jesus gives about "the church." Whatever else it is, it's a community that is committed and submitted to one another enough that they hold each other accountable to godly and edifying living. When someone rejects or refuses that accountability, they are removed from the community - the only way "removal" is possible is if there's a process for bringing people in. In the NT Church, membership happened through baptism: Baptism was the "membership process." Now, because people are baptized throughout our culture and then move and shift in their lives, we need a different process. We believe the Biblical model is that this process is, at its core, a journey of an individual (or the head of a family) to give permission to a community to hold them accountable according to Kingdom living.
Again, consider 1 Corinthians 5. This is about church discipline, but Paul finally says the right move in this gnarly situation is that someone would be "removed from among you." How could that happen without membership? It's not that they lock him out of the room, but that they can no longer have the fellowship of communion with him.
Looking at the whole New Testament, there is absolutely NO concept of a "solo Christian." When we surrender our lives and believe in Jesus... we join his community. Another way the New Testament talks about this is joining his "body," which means we are the flesh and blood expression of Jesus in the world right now! You cannot be a "body part" without making commitment to the rest of the body.
Maturity cannot reached when we are mere consumers. We only really understand the gospel and true love when we've made a commitment to someone (or to a group) that says "I'm willing to endure pain, hardship, conflict, and shortcomings because I believe I'm called to be with you." In that way, membership is like marriage. The Church will never be what Jesus designed it to be without this.
The Elders of LCC are the leaders of our church - based on 1 Peter 5, you might call them "shepherds of the flock." If all the above is true about membership, then the only people we can call to be elders are those who are members. And, the only people who have the right to choose their leaders are the members. Accountability and Submission (to Christ and his Body) are the keys to authority.
At Littleton Christian Church, we have a three-step membership process. You can find out information about each step below. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. We would love to hear from you.
Step 1. Membership Gathering
Before you become a member at Littleton Christian, we ask that you attend a membership gathering. That happens either in a class setting (when there are enough people), or in smaller meetings with Pastor Mike.
We want you to know the history of our congregation, as well as the rights and responsibilities of a member. We also want to dream with you about what your membership could look like.
Step 2. Membership Form
When you've finished the form, the Elders of this church have the responsibility to prayerfully study your answers so that we have a foundation to partner well with you for the Kingdom of God. Our elders take your membership very seriously: the members are the flock that the elders are called to shepherd (even though the elders and staff are fellow sheep!).
Step 3. Membership Commitment
The final step? In one of our favorite ceremonies, we invite you to stand before the congregation to make your commitment public (like a marriage, with witnesses). If you haven't been baptized, that's a great time to do it!