Why be a Member of a local church?
First of all I believe that is what Jesus Christ wants us to do. Matthew 16:15-18 reads, “But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Jesus was intent on building a church composed of all of us who believe; so to belong to a church is to participate in the purpose God has for our lives.
Second, to be a member of a local church is more, much more than simply having your name in some obscure and remote book. To be a member of a church is to be active, to the best of your abilities, within the faith community called a local church. 1Peter 2 says, “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. We were created in Jesus to be more than names on a list or occupy space in a chair in worship. We have a purpose to live out. We were created in Christ to be a living active part of the church.
Third, to be an active member of a local church is to part of our witness in the world. In my first appointment as an ordained pastor, I met John. John was 104 when I met him. He was also almost completely blind and deaf, but every Sunday he sat in the first row in front of the pulpit. Someone once asked him why he bothered to go to worship because he was almost completely blind and deaf. His reply has always stuck with me and inspired me. He said, “To show whose side I am on!” A major part of John’s witness was simply to keep showing up, which he did until his death at age 107.
Fourth, the imperfections of the church are used by God to perfect us. Anyone who has attended and participated in the church for any length of time knows that the church is a gathering place of sinners seeking perfection, not a gathering of the perfected saints. The imperfections of the church and the sins of many of its members drives people away, but I have found those who have made the commitment to stay and work through the pain and problems have experienced great spiritual growth. As Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” We sharpen one another not only through the pain and struggle that demands and receives forgiveness; we sharpen one another as we share our wisdom and love.
Fifth, in terms of our mission in the world we are more effective and affective together than on our own. We day by day, week by week live out the truth of this here at Vista Church. Our mission to Agua Prieta through Fuente de la Vida has transformed an entire community from utter poverty and spiritual darkness to education and the light of Jesus Christ. Yes indeed, together we are the Body of Christ, and together we do so much better than on our own.
These are some thoughts to think of as you consider Vista Church for your church home. We believe in the power of the church and we practice day by day what we believe.
In Christ’s service and love,