I have been enjoying getting to know those we will be welcoming as new members of our congregation on Sunday, September 30.
As part of the Inquirer Class we offer, we spend a whole session on what it means to be a member of a church—not just First Presbyterian, but any Christian congregation. It is a good review for all of us, new members and long-time members as well.
First of all, we spend some time with the witty metaphors in 1 Corinthians 12, where Paul describes the body of Christ as a human body, and makes the joke about if the whole body were just an eye how could we smell the roses, or if the body were only made up of hands and not feet, how would we get anywhere. As it is, God provides diversity, hands, eyes, ear, head, shoulders, knees, and feet.
But the main point of that metaphor is that each individual part of the body is indispensable. All are needed working together in their separate ways. And if one member suffers, we all suffer together; if one member is honored, we all celebrate together.
Being a member of a congregation, like any community, is not just about enrolling or signing up. We are members as we participate in the life of the community.
Our Book of Order reminds us that:
Membership in the Church of Jesus Christ is a joy and a privilege. It is also a commitment to participate in Christ’s mission. A faithful member bears witness to God’s love and grace and promises to be involved responsibly in the ministry of Christ’s Church.
As we welcome new members into the life of this congregation, it is a good time to review our own level of participation in the worship, mission, and service of the church.