Why does everyone on an athletic team wear the same uniform? They want to be identified as a part of the team and their opponent wants to know what team they represent. In all my years of athletics from pee wee to college I always loved wearing the team jersey. I wanted to be identified with my team and feel the same way to this day. I have t-shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, ties, jackets even cufflinks of my alma maters Boston College and Duke University. And I wear them with pride because I want everyone to know that I am associated with such great schools and teams.
What identifies you as being part of God’s team? Simply going to church occasionally or even regularly is not enough. What identifies you is being a member of a local church. Being a Christ follower makes you part of The Church but membership is what identifies you as a part of a local church. The membership commitment communicates clearly that you represent Jesus Christ through your local church. Here are four reasons why you should become a member of a local church.
It is Biblical
The term member is not used in the Bible (neither is trinity) but the concept of commitment certainly is. The word partnership is used and that is a very good way of understanding membership. In Philippians 1:5 Paul wrote, “I thank my God for your partnership in the Gospel.” He knew Philippi’s committed people were what caused the church to succeed. Throughout the Bible believers were identified with a local church whether in Corinth, Ephesus, Colossae or other cities. One of the major themes of the Bible is commitment and there is no better way to commit than becoming a member of a church.
It Gives Stability
A church is on the front lines of the spiritual battle. It faces opposition in many ways and needs to have a solid core of people who support it with their time, talent and treasure. For a church to be successful people need to step up to higher levels of commitment. Membership is a high level of commitment and the more members in the church the more stable and secure the church will be. The stability of the church allows it to take the risks necessary to make an impact in their community.
It Provides Accountability
Being a church attender is not the same as being a church member. Attending allows you to be a part of a church without necessarily being known by the church. When you become a member you are making commitments (seven at my church) that you are then held accountable for fulfilling. Accountability is a necessary aspect of the Christian life and membership ensures it will regularly function. For the leadership of the church there is nothing like knowing people have “skin in the game” especially as decisions are made.
It Benefits You
Becoming a member of a local church is a defining moment in your Christ followership. It is a statement that you take your commitment to Christ seriously enough to make a commitment to Christ’s church in a local place. Membership is making a commitment and communicating it in a public way. Like the case with any commitment, successful people are just ordinary people who make commitments others are unwilling to make. Your membership also allows the opportunity to help make key decisions affecting the church’s future. In a world where membership in almost every group is falling you can help the church be the one place where it is increasing.
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Lately there have been protests, marches and other examples of a polarized America. The news media has focused on anything that is divisive or negative. I have personally chosen in my preaching and writing to be positive.
A man received a book entitled Happiness as a gift from his friend and inside the front cover his friend wrote “Keep this book in your house and you will always have happiness in your home.” If only it was that easy! Entire countries have actually tried to make their countries happier by creating a ministry of happiness. In Ecuador it is called the Ministry of Buen Vivir which means the "good life”. In Argentina it is called the Ministry of the People's Supreme Social Happiness. Both were created in 2013 but according to the World Happiness Report, Ecuador is ranked no. 48 and Argentina no. 23. Setting up a national ministry to create happier lives is not sufficient or even necessary. The good news is we can control our own happiness. We have the capacity to create the happiness we are seeking by incorporating specific habits into our daily lives. In these next pages I will share with you five habits of happy people. If you can practice these and make them a part of your life - you can be happy.