Partnership at The Gathering is important.
For many Christians membership sounds stiff, something you have at your bank or the country club, but too formal for the church. Even if it’s agreed that Christianity is not a lone ranger religion, that we need community and fellowship with other Christians, we still bristle at the thought of officially joining a church. Why all the hoops? Why box the Holy Spirit into member/non-member categories? Why bother joining a local church when I’m already a member of the universal Church?
Some Christians–because of church tradition or church baggage–may not be convinced of church membership no matter how many times “member” actually shows up in the New Testament. But many others are open to hearing the justification for something they’ve not thought much about.
We’re glad you are here today, checking out membership at The Gathering! We call it “partnership” because that conveys our sense of what it means to be a member of a local church. We’re in this together, and it’s a partnership.
Here are just a few reasons why church partnership matters.
1. In joining a church you make visible your commitment to Christ and his people. Partnership is one way to raise the flag of faith. You state before God and others that you are part of this local body of believers.
2. Making a commitment makes a powerful statement in a low-commitment culture. Many bowling leagues require more of their members than our churches. Where this is true, the church is a sad reflection of its culture. Ours is a consumer culture were everything is tailored to meet our needs and satisfy our preferences. When those needs aren’t met, we can always move on to the next product, or job, or spouse.
3. We can be overly independent. In the West, it’s one of the best and worst thing about us. We are free spirits and critical thinkers. We get an idea and run with it. But whose running with us? And are any of us running in the same direction? Partnership at The Gathering states in a formal way, “I am part of something bigger than myself. I am not just one of three hundred individuals. I am part of a body.”
4. Church partnership keeps us accountable. When we join a church we are offering ourselves to one another to be encouraged, rebuked, corrected, and served. We are placing ourselves under leaders and submitting to their authority (Heb. 13:7). We are saying, “I am here to stay. I want to help you grow in godliness. Will you help me to do the same?”
5. Joining the church will help your pastor and elders be more faithful shepherds. Hebrews 13:7 says “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.” That’s your part as “laypeople”. Here’s our part as leaders: “They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.” The elders in our church take very seriously their responsibility before God to watch care for souls.
6. Joining the church gives you an opportunity to make promises. When someone become a partner at The Gathering Church, they make promises to pray, give, serve, attend worship, accept the spiritual guidance of the church, obey its teachings, and seek the things that make for unity, purity, and peace. We ought not to make these promises lightly. They are solemn vows. And we must hold each other to them. If you don’t join the church, you miss an opportunity to publicly make these promises, inviting the elders and the rest of the body to hold you to these promises-which would be missing out on great spiritual benefit, for you, your leaders, and the whole church.
Partnership matters more than most people think.
So, thanks for stopping by to read more about Partnership. If you're still interested, please check out the rest of the pages!