Over the last four weeks in the TOGETHER series, we’ve been talking about what it means to live life together here at Fellowship. This conversation has been for everyone in our church as we have learned (and remembered!) what it means for us to be a healthy spiritual community.
You can think of it this way. If IMAGINE was a capital campaign, in which we committed to pay off our church’s debt, in order to give more of our resources away, then think of TOGETHER as a “people campaign." A season when, in light of the gospel, we commit to one another in new ways through membership, in order to give more of our lives away.
For sure, there would be great organizational reasons for us to discuss membership. Any wise group would want to know who its committed core is. Athletic clubs, parent/teacher organizations, and pretty much anyone throwing an 8-year-old’s birthday party would all try to figure out who it is they’ll be serving. And Fellowship is no different. As we think about budgets, facilities, and ministry plans, it certainly helps to know who is saying, “If you’re making plans, count me in!”.
There would also be great pastoral reasons to talk about the commitment that membership represents. As we all continue to feel the grace of God pressing into our hearts and lives, we find the courage to finally tell the truth about ourselves. Because our standing with God depends on all that Jesus has done on our behalf, the pretending and performing that so often define the church can be set aside. We can admit that our lives perhaps aren’t as shiny and happy as they seem on social media. We can confess that our “bad habits” and “personality quirks” are all too often premeditated and selfish sin. The gospel promises us that in confession and repentance comes more grace. But the question is this: who can I trust with that confession? Who has formally committed to me that they won’t take my sin and clobber me with it? But who has also promised not to sweep it under the rug and tell me it’s “ok” when it clearly isn’t? Who will stick with me through the good, bad, and the ugly? The commitments of membership can help as we navigate all of that.
And there would certainly be great biblical reasons to talk membership. We’re Fellowship Bible Church–if we want to be anything, it’s biblical! And while the New Testament gives lots of freedom for what a gathering of Christians can look like, there are some things it’s very strong on. Namely this: Hebrews 13:17 says that leaders and members alike will be held accountable for how they watched over one another’s souls. That sounds like a pretty serious job description! Perhaps the journey of faith is far more perilous than we’re prone to believe, and that we’re more dependent on others than we’d like to admit. It might be that we desperately need one another in real, defined, and committed ways.
But as good as those organizational, pastoral, and biblical reasons may be, they aren’t the full expression of our heart as leaders for why we’d be passionate about membership. They are definitely part of it. But around here, we’re about making disciples. It’s our mission. And we believe that the transformation that each of us really wants–real spiritual breakthrough–is only promised us in the context of spiritual community. Over and over the New Testament teaches that together we are being built into a dwelling place for God (Ephesians 2:22). Together we learn how big God’s love for us is in Jesus (Ephesians 3:17-19). Together we will be transformed to be like Jesus in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). All of us. Together.
In fact, the concept of family is the one the Bible uses more than any other to describe what we are together in the Gospel. We’re called the “children of God” and the “household of God”. Fellow believers address one another as “brother” and “sister”. And when someone brought up the topic of his mother and brothers, Jesus said that his real family is made of those who believe in Him.
The stunning reality is that, when we trust Jesus, we become family with God and others in ways that are not
TOGETHER is really an invitation to live out what we already are, a family. And like all families, it means a commitment to growing and going. To learning and loving. To
Some of us have been around Fellowship a long time, and when we hear the call to family, it gets us excited. I love that. If that’s you, please don’t miss this opportunity to reaffirm your love for this place and for these people. It serves as a great encouragement to all of us.
Some of us may have been around a while, but have found our hearts worn down by the
And some of us are still checking things out, still unsure about the claims of Jesus or exactly what spiritual community is all about. That’s great! Take your time. You’re always welcome here. We hope and pray that as God continues to reveal himself, He’d draw you to his Son and then to other believers. We pray you’d see what family life at Fellowship is like (however dysfunctional it may be at times!) and that you’d want to lock arms with us. We’d consider that a great honor.
Family. This is what God is making us into and this is what we're inviting each other into. May God give us the grace we'll need to live it out- TOGETHER.
If you're ready to say yes to membership, click here.