Church Membership

As we go about our lives as Christians in this world, we see many different attitudes toward church membership. Some stay in the same church all their lives, even though the preaching is bad, because most or all of their family and friends go there. Others move continuously over a period of time from one church to another, never establishing firm roots anywhere or staying at a given church for too long. Even worse for spiritual stability, however, is an attitude exhibited by a coworker of mine. We were talking one day about singing in choirs at church, and the conversation took a different turn. She mentioned dropping out of choir and worshiping God at a cottage she owns up in Grant, a town forty-five minutes north of Grand Rapids. The problem wasn’t that she withdrew from the choir. My dad has withdrawn from choirs due to the busyness of being a self-employed businessman and an elder. Life gets busy and sometimes even worthwhile commitments such as choral singing need to be put aside temporarily. The problem was that she let her church membership lapse and thought that worshiping God in nature was an adequate substitute. This attitude is nothing new. I remember reading a poem by Emily Dickinson as part of a school class called “Some keep the Sabbath by going to church”. The gist of this poem is that while some people observe the Lord’s Day praising God in His house, she could sit at home listen to the birds and tune into or out of the “sermon” as she chose. She was known for being a recluse for a good share of her adult life. It is certainly true that God reveals Himself in nature, whether in a flower, a bird, or a violent thunderstorm. When I am outside riding my bike, I can see the handiwork of God in creation in the plants, trees, and sunshine He has created. That having been said, spending time at a cottage or on a bike ride does not have the same spiritual benefit as going to church on the Lord’s Day to hear His word proclaimed by a faithful minister. Hearing the preaching of God’s word at a true church and having membership in a true church. It is essential that we as young people and young adults be actively involved in church in whatever capacity and with whatever talents God has given us. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). What does this mean? First of all it implies that we are to gather together for worship as frequently as we possibly can. Sometimes illness, legitimate Sunday employment (doctors, nurses, law enforcement, etc.), or weather cancellations make church attendance impossible on a given Sunday. If there is legitimate Sunday employment, it should interfere with church as little as possible. We should, however, strive to be faithful in our church attendance. Secondly, we are to exhort and encourage one another to go to church. Sometimes we or our fellow saints get discouraged and we need to encourage and strengthen each other as much as we are able in our Godly walk. Finally, we need to be aware of the end times that we are living in. Homosexuality, transgenderism, abortion, and drug and alcohol abuse are increasing at alarming rates and viewed as acceptable and commendable lifestyles. We need to be aware of these trends and stay away from, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). God has greatly blessed us with churches that continue, after almost 90 years in existence, to maintain the truth that they had when they were first established. May we as young people and young adults actively continue our membership in these congregations and in so doing, be blessed of God.

Kevin Rau

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