(Eph 3:14-15) . . . of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.
It is common for new people at our church to ask me about church membership. They have been attending for a while and feel this it the church for them. They typically approach me after a service and introduce themselves. It is always a joy to greet new people and a thrill to have them share with me how they want to join our church. But then the big question comes . . . “How do we join the church?” And with a smile I customarily reply, “You already have!”
You see, when a person receives Christ they have been placed into God’s family. Here’s how it happens:
(1 Cor 12:13) For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body; whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
(Rom 8:15-17) For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ . . .
So when a person asks me about church membership I tell them they are already a part of the church family universal, so welcome to the church family local in the community. Nothing to sign. No classes to attend. No obligations to fulfill. Nothing to prove. No initiation rites. No hierarchy to climb. You are already family. You already belong. You’re my brother. You’re my sister. You are . . . accepted in the Beloved. (Eph 1:6) We have the same Father. Sit anywhere you want. Enjoy the loving family atmosphere. Meet somebody new. Don’t worry if you’re shy. No pressure. We’re just glad you’re here!
What a great feeling. That sense of “I’m home” . . . “I belong.” “This is my family” “I like it here.” “I think this is where the Lord wants me.” “I’m gonna keep coming back”
What about involvement? As the Lord leads. We care more about your spiritual growth than what you can do for the church. Just come on in and receive the love of God and the Word of God. Be nurtured in the faith. Learn about God’s grace for your life. You’ll get acquainted with God’s people as time goes by. Then opportunities will naturally open up for you and you’ll just step right through that door.
And listen. As far as your past is concerned . . . we don’t care where you’ve been as long as we know where you’re going. Welcome home to your new church family!