Each follower of Jesus is called out of sin and darkness, where death reigns, and into a new community of forgiveness and light, where Jesus reigns (Colossians 1:13). This new community is called the Church, which literally means "the called out ones." Every believer in Christ is part of the Church, the Body of Christ, but becomes a part of a local expression of that universal group of believers, called a local church (since every believer around the world consistently gathering in one place is a bit of a logistical nightmare!). The principle is is this: a believer in Christ is not a lone ranger; they are called into community.
Becoming a member of the local church is sort of like a marriage vow; you're making a commitment to a family! Signing the form is sort of like a wedding ring - an outward symbol of an inward covenant. Membership says I will faithfully worship, serve and grow with this group of believers (Acts 2:42-47). I will submit to the authority (elders) of this local church (Hebrews 13:17). I will receive discipline when necessary (Matthew 18:15-17), use my gifts for others (1 Corinthians 12:4-7) and encourage the family regularly (Hebrews 10:24-25). Additionally, a member is able to vote at our business meetings for things like budget, staff members, elders and deacons.
While there is no explicit command in the Bible to formally sign a piece of paper, the heart of belonging to a local expression of the Bride of Christ colors all the New Testament pages. Would you prayerfully consider joining our family at Peninsula Grace? We'd love to have you; there's always room for more! (Will you marry us? =)
So what do I do next?
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