Visible Christianity: Membership
Community Group Questions: Visible Christianity: Membership
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- This is the last in our four-part message series entitled “Visible Christianity.” As a church, we’ve been looking at visible illustrations of the gospel we proclaim. So far, we’ve discussed baptism, communion, and good works. Which of these ideas has impacted you the most so far? Why?
- Our final visible illustration of the gospel is “church membership.” Share with the group your experiences with formally joining churches. Have you been a member of a church or several churches in the past? Are you a member at Christ Community Church at this point? Have your experiences with church membership been more positive or negative? How so?
- Many people wonder whether church membership is really in the Bible. Take time as a group to review the following passages: Acts 2:41, 47, 4:4; 1 Cor. 1:2, Philippians 1:1, and 1 Thess. 1:1. These texts show that that earliest church “counted the numbers” of those who belonged to them, and the Apostles wrote their letters to Christians associated with churches (rather than to disconnected individuals). What does this evidence suggest about the way New Testament believers thought of church membership?
- Take a moment to review the following texts: 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, 1 John 2:19, and Titus 3:10-11. What do these texts, which distinguish between those “inside” the church and those “outside,” imply about what it means to be a member?
- Pastor Eric defined biblical church membership as “a Christian believer’s formal commitment to a local church.” Do you agree with this definition? How would you define biblical church membership based on the texts we’ve read so far?
- Why are so many of us hesitant to formally commit to a local church family? Have you ever found yourself guilty of treating the church like a “consumer good” rather than a family to dedicate yourself to?
- Read 1 Peter 5:1-4. How does church membership help church leaders know who they are responsible for? Read Hebrews 10:23-25. How does church membership help members know who they are responsible to “spur on” toward love an good deeds?
- Read 1 Cor. 12:12-27. This wonderful passage describes each local church family as a full representation of the “body of Christ.” Some members are eyes, feet, hands, etc. If we take this metaphor seriously, what does it imply about church commitment? What does it imply about the “visible impact” of church life? In other words, how do we make the gospel visible when we gather to serve one another and worship together?
Prayer suggestion: Pray that God preserve our church family in unity. Pray that we might display the gospel well, as committed members come together for worship, service, and prayer. Pray that our neighbors, our city, and our world would take note of the visible display of the gospel through local churches like ours. Pray for the “visible witness” of other local churches you know of in Tucson.