In college, there’s nothing harder than committing to a church. Some Sundays you’re home, others you’re going to church with your friends, and the rest you’re too bombarded with homework to go anywhere at all. As long as you’re going to church, does it really matter if it’s at the same place each week? And do you really need to be an official member?
I spent a lot of time wrestling with these questions over the past three years, and I’ve come to a few conclusions about why membership matters.
As you probably know, the Bible calls us to tithe 10 percent of our earnings to the church. Sure, you could tithe at any church, but it would be more rewarding to stick around long enough to see the fruits of your financial labor.
It’s hard enough getting to know people at church without bouncing around week to week. The most effective form of fellowship occurs with those individuals you can engage with outside of church, which means forming friendships.
Whenever I was switching churches on a weekly basis, I rarely participated in anything outside of Sunday service for fear of being that awkward semi-visitor, semi-regular. As a member, you get the feeling of belonging.
Of course you’re going to miss service from time to time, but it’s always encouraging when people reach out with a simple, “Hey, we missed you this morning.” From my experience, you’re more likely to receive that as a member, since you’re now part of a larger, hopefully tight-knit community.
Although you don’t want to think of a church in a cost/benefit way, there are definitely benefits to belonging to a church. Volunteer opportunities, mission trips and communion are often church-exclusive events that can sow serious spiritual profits.
In case you’re wondering, I did in fact take the plunge a few weeks ago and committed to a church in my hometown where I felt God was calling me. Of course, I recognize there are valid points to be made against membership as well, and I would love to hear some rebuttal.
What are your thoughts on membership?