“Now you are the body of Christ, and individually members of it” – 1 Corinthians 12:27
What is a “member” of a church? Often we think or hear of “membership” as a privilege, or of being part of an ‘elite’ club with special privileges for being a card-carrying “member”. But when we refer to “membership” in the church, this is a different kind of “member” – this is a member, like a “member” of our body (eye, hand, foot) which is an important, functional part of something greater, and with a purpose. We are made members of Christ’s body (the church) when we are baptized and receive the gift of God’s Spirit, calling and equipping us to live in relationship with God, and in service to one another (1 Corinthians 12:13). Part of living out this calling is being part of a faith community, being a functional “member” of something greater than ourselves.
At Hope, anyone and everyone is welcome to come and be a part of our ministries and our community, to explore what we are doing, to participate fully, and to grow, learn, and serve, as together we seek to be a community following Jesus. Jesus welcomed everyone and anyone, no matter what their background or belief, to “come and see” what he was up to, and to get to know him (John 1:39). As his church, we follow the same principle, and invite all to “come and see” with us. Membership is not a requirement to participate in our community.
However, as Jesus’ followers grew in their relationship with him, he called them to a deeper commitment to sharing his message with others and being his “body” to do his work in the world (1 Corinthians 12:12-27, Matthew 28:15-20). Those who are seeking a deeper commitment to following Jesus and to being part of what God is calling us to do and be at Hope, are invited to live out their baptism and membership in Christ’s body by becoming “members” of this church.
Membership involves making a commitment to contribute regularly and consistently with time, talent, and treasure to the ministries of Hope, as a functional part of Christ’s body in this community. Much like Jesus asked his first followers to commit to caring for his people on his behalf, he continues to call and equip us as his church today to participate in that life-changing work (John 21:15-17, Acts 1:8).
Twice a year, typically once in the fall and once in the spring, we hold a New Member Orientation, where those who are interested in taking this next step can learn more about Hope’s mission, how we work and follow God to fulfill that mission, and what membership entails. We also hold a special blessing and prayer in worship twice a year for all who are new members to Hope. However, at any time of year, anyone who is interested in learning more about Hope, or about pursuing membership or baptism, is invited to talk with the pastors or staff, or simply just “come and see.”
For more information about Hope, membership, or baptism, please contact Pastor Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the office at 248-553-7170. We hope to see you soon, as together we “come and see” what Jesus is up to at Hope, joined together as members of his body to do his work in the world!