Is a Christian obligated to treat members of his church any differently than he treats other Christians?9Marks
The apostle Paul urges Christians to do good to all men, especially those who are of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10). But the Bible also seems to indicate that Christians have a special responsibility to love, admonish, and care for those who are members of their local church.
Many churches attempt to adopt an inviting and warm posture by allowing both non-Christians and prospective Christian members to serve publicly in the church. Certainly outreach is a good motive. But is this the whole picture? We believe that public acts of service—like serving in the nursery, teaching children, leading music, teaching adult Sunday school, and leading a small group—should be reserved for members of the church. Why?
Tolerance and inclusivity are the quintessential postmodern virtues. It seems that the only way to be genuinely wrong in contemporary western society is to ever exclude anyone. Contemporary westerners are born cherishing particular conceptions of diversity, inclusion, and tolerance.
A well-defined membership commends and clarifies the gospel by
Churches that practice meaningful membership by taking care to ensure that only repentant believers belong to the church serve non-Christians outside the church in several ways:
Maybe. It’s certainly more likely to keep non-Christians who profess to be Christians from joining the church.
But it’s more important to have more attending and submissive members than it is to have more members, since the Scriptures calls Christians to attend and submit to their churches. In the West today, a church will only grow in more attending and submissive members by having a careful membership process.
In addition to basic life details (marriage, job, etc), elders or pastors should ask prospective members:
To an extent, that depends on the church’s context and what kind of expectations most people will have. Here are some questions that may be more or less relevant to you depending on what kind of a situation you’re in.
A church should expect that its members will:
In order to join a local church someone should be: