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Thoughts on Church Membership

The elders were thankful for a chance to host a meeting yesterday for all who are considering membership at Godspeed. About twenty of us had lunch together and discussed reasons for membership, talked through questions, shared hesitations about membership and also talked about baptism and upcoming sermons.

Here’s one of the reasons for membership we talked about that we consider to be very important:

1 Peter 5:1-3 "5 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock."

Membership allows the elders to know who has voluntarily placed themselves in this local church. If there is no membership, then the elders of a church have no way to know whom they’re caring for. As Godspeed elders, we want to create an environment for healthy spiritual growth, personal care for members, protection over the whole church from heresy, immorality and from disunity. We are committed to Godspeed being a safe place for people to be real, to share their struggles, to grow closer to God from wherever they currently are spiritually. So we take seriously 1 Peter 5:1-3. And to care for a “flock” spiritually means we need to know who is in the flock.

Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesian elders is the same: “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders" Acts 20:28-29.

Elder oversight is not to be heavy-handed, domineering or to be a power issue for any of the elders. It’s a serious commitment to provide a spiritually safe and healthy place for genuine heart growth. Membership is the only way to know who the elders are caring for.

We’re thankful to all who are eager to covenant together in membership. Christ continue to build His church, for His own glory.