I remember the day I was saved. In the midst of the post conversion conversation my pastor said that the next step was to make my decision public and be baptized. Shortly after I attended a new member class and since then I have been a “church member.”
I love His church. I cherish the privilege of being a member of the body of Christ. I believe that we should take our church membership commitment seriously.
Jesus planted His church and has promised that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. As we look into the early days of the church we find a people who were “continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). We find them “being” the church, “continuing with one mind” and “praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” (Acts 2:46-47).
As important as membership is, there is “little” evidence in Scripture that we are called to be “church members.” But there is overwhelming evidence that we are called to be “church missionaries.”
“I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. … to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:7-8).
“Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away” (Acts 13:1-3).
The Great Commission says “Go” but we have turned it into “come.” The Book of Acts paints the picture of the believers gathering for prayer, fellowship and edification, but very quickly they went out as church missionaries.
As a Great Commission Resource Center, a church is commissioned to the glorious task of Global Redemption. That means that everything we do as His church should focus on getting people to church and ultimately to Christ.
As clear as this is in Scripture, we have created a culture of maintenance rather than a culture of missions. We may believe in missions, support missions even go on mission, but in order for us to function as a GCRC we must go through a paradigm shift in our mental model.