One of my favorite passages about church community is from the book of Hebrews: Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25)
Another powerful image of the church come from the book of Colossians: Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)
You could easily make the argument that we could exhort each other without practicing church membership. I think the tendency would be to focus on those people you enjoy and plan successful navigation away from those you individuals you find to be difficult. The beauty of the gospel is that our relationship is built around the commonality that we have in Christ. I have often discovered that the people I consider difficult are the very people I need most in my life!
The idea of encouraging or admonishing one another is the reality that we carry each other’s burdens. We must interweave ourselves until we rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep (Romans. 12:15) and if one member suffers, all suffer together (1 Corinthians. 12:26). Each Christian must look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others (Philippians. 2:4). We need church membership to discipline us to admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all (1 Thessalonians. 5:14).
The wisdom of God has established this within the faith community to keep us from drifting away from the faith. As we grow in the faith we value the things of God. We move away from selfishness and isolation toward gospel community. Church membership is an important discipline that God uses to provide protection for those within the context of the church.
Our Pastor writes most of the blog posts we publish, however, occasionally some of our other church leadership (some staff, some volunteer) who also contribute to the New Life blog.