Not Your Ordinary Membership
A healthy church member is someone that, in one sense, shares all the sensibilities of their pastor. They’re going to have a concern for the spiritual growth of others, they’re going to have a concern for the right teaching of God’s Word, and they will have a concern for the church’s witness to their local community, for reaching their neighbors and friends. They’ll do that as people who have a view of what it means to be a member of a church.
When we talk about being members of a church, we’re not borrowing from the idea of membership in a rotary club, or bridge club. We’re actually using a term that’s distinctively Christian. It comes from the image that Paul uses of the church being the body of Christ, and we are members of that body. A healthy church member treasures that biblical reality.
I would also argue that healthy church members commit themselves to a number of disciplines in order to grow.
They are expositional listeners. They read and listen to Scripture, look for the meaning of it, and apply it to their lives. They are biblical theologians, not necessarily in the ivory tower with academic degrees, but endeavoring to understand how the Bible fits together from beginning to end and to understand how each part fits into that story of redemption. They care about genuine conversion, that people really are turning from sin, turning to Christ, growing in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord, and abounding in thanksgiving.
What Is a Healthy Church Member?
They are people who support godly leadership and know how to humbly submit to it as Hebrews 13 calls us to. And that’s going to be part of what leads them to embrace, as a grace from God, the Scriptures on discipline, both the formative discipline of listening to God’s Word and also, from time to time, the sad and hopeful corrective discipline of addressing people who are unrepentant of their sin with the hopes of restoring them. In that way, a healthy member is going to have a pastoral or working theology of the local church, and going to eagerly play their part in it.