Somebody asked recently, ‘How do you become a member of Wellfield Church?’ I hope this is a clearer answer to the one I gave then!
It would be possible to set up something to sign - an agreement or set of beliefs to swear assent to. But church is not a club or organisation. It’s a family. You know when you’re a member of a family. So becoming a member of a church means you relate to the other people in it as a family, because you have the same Father: God. Let’s explore what that means in practice.
1. You have God as your Father.
Having God as your Father means being a Christian. It means knowing that Jesus, by his death, has made it possible. Your sins are forgiven, and God welcomes you into his holy presence as his child. You relate to God, through the bible and prayer; and you submit to God’s authority. To be a member of Wellfield Church means you need to be a member of God’s whole church.
2. You are committed to the family.
Other church members are fellow children of God. You relate to them as brothers and sisters.
This doesn’t mean:
- you have to address them as ‘brother’ or ‘sister’. That would be weird.
- you should fight all the time, like you do at home, snatch each others’ toys and make each other cry. (Remember, God’s in charge.)
- we need to move into the same house.
- husbands and wives now have an uncomfortable relationship with each other.
But it does mean:
- blood is thicker than water. When one is in need, we are all in need. When one suffers, we all suffer.
- we spend time together. We work at relationships in the church. We care about what’s going on in each others’ lives.
- we love each other. (Liking each other generally follows from that.)
3. You share the work and aims of the family.
God has given his people a job. The work of ‘making disciples’ (Matthew 28:19-20) is something for all of us to do together, not just some. To be a member of the family will mean pulling in that direction. (Details of that are unpacked in a thousand ways in the bible.)