To Belong

I cannot remember a time when I was not a member of a church. Actually, there never was a time when I, or as part of my family, was not on the rolls of a church somewhere. Though there were times when I did not regularly go to church for years—most notably in college. Yet, even when I had not set foot in my church for months, even lived hundreds of miles away, if you asked if I belonged to a church I would not have hesitated to say, “yes, absolutely.”

Church membership means many things—voting, committee membership, faith statement, financial commitment—but the most important aspect is the least tangible. The sense of belonging brings to one a connection to a community, but also, through it, a deepening of our relationship with God.

When people ask me about church membership I often begin with a light-hearted response that the only difference between members and non-members is the ability to vote and serve on committees—and not everyone sees that as an advantage! The truth is that the most important factor is this sense of belonging. By joining a church I have tied myself to a congregation of faithful people for support and care. In addition, joining a church means taking a stand. For joining is also about staking a claim to believing in God and in a particular understanding of the divine. To be part of a church means that I am not part of other churches.

Personally, I cannot imagine many things more important than taking a stand for God’s love as shown in our church. This is why I enjoy talking to potential new members. I love the energy of new visitors to church and to share with them the history and beliefs of our unique body of God’s believers.

This Sunday, March 11, I will be leading a new member orientation class following worship. If you are considering membership I invite you to the class and to join with us to “know and make God known” at this time, in this place. New members will be received on Sunday, March 25.

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