Why Join the Core Team?
Church Membership – Why is it Important?
Why do the Oiler players wear the same uniform? It’s to identify them as teammates. Why do married people wear wedding rings? It’s to symbolize their commitment as a couple. Why do followers of Jesus get baptized? It’s to publicly show their personal faith. In the same way, church membership identifies one’s willingness to publicly and officially align with the mission, values, and beliefs of a particular local church.
At ECC, Core Team members are the core of this church family. Membership is just one way to show that they are committed to Christ, this local church body, and the mission God has put before us. Church membership is not about receiving certain rights and privileges. It is going on record and making a public commitment to love, serve, and work toward a common goal – thus the designation ‘team’. While becoming a Christian means committing yourself to Christ, becoming a member means publicly committing yourself to other Christians and to what can be accomplished for Christ together. In becoming a Core Team member, individuals publicly declare that they are ‘devoted’ to a specific local body as described in Acts 2:42. It’s a commitment to practice the ‘one anothers’ of the New Testament within the context of a local body of believers. The phrase “one another” is used many times in the New Testament – i.e. we are instructed to love, pray for, encourage, admonish, serve, accept, honor, forgive, submit to, be devoted to ‘one another’, to name a few.
Where does the Bible speak of being a member in a local church?
There is nowhere in the New Testament where it says, “You must become an official church member.” However, the Bible does infer two kinds of “members.” When we accept Christ personally, we immediately become members of the universal Body of Jesus Christ. This happens because of the grace of God through Christ. It’s then that we become true children of God. If you are a Christ-follower, then you are already a member of God’s church (I Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 2:13-22; 4:3-6; Colossians 1:13-14).
However, the Bible also assumes that members of Christ’s universal Church become deeply involved and fully committed to a local expression of God’s church (Romans 12:4-8; I Corinthians 12:25-31; 14:12, 26; Hebrews 10:24-25; I Timothy 3:14-15). Joining the Core Team is a way to make that commitment known.
Do I have to be a leader?
We strongly encourage every ministry department leader/coordinator to be a part of the Core Team (and in some areas it’s a requirement). However, not every Core Team member will necessarily lead a ministry area. A whole-life commitment to discipleship and ministry in the context of this local church is what members commit themselves to, not leadership per se, although that’s something to be open to.
Core Team members are ministers.
Have you ever thought of yourself as a minister? The word ‘minister’ simply means ‘servant’. It does not exclusively refer to pastors. The Bible makes it clear that every believer, as a member of Christ’s body, is a minister. Ministry is involvement in others’ lives. It is having a spiritual influence on others. So, no matter who you are, or what you do, if you are a part of the body of Christ, you are a minister.
At ECC we only expect of our Core Team members what the Bible clearly expects of Jesus-followers.
These expectations are summarized in our Core Team (Membership) Covenant. We introduce this covenant at our Core Course 101.
In marriage, for example, the most important part of the ceremony is when the man and woman exchange vows. Before God and other witnesses, they make promises to each other. This covenant between them is the essence of the marriage. In the same way, the essence of church membership is contained in a willingness to commit to a membership covenant. Throughout the Bible and church history, spiritual covenants have been made between people for mutual edification and accountability. Joining the Core Team is this type of covenant!
Why join the ECC Core Team? Because membership:
Makes a statement about my level of commitment to a local body of believers and to a shared vision (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Strenghthens the bond with a spiritual family for support and encouragement in my walk with Christ (Galatians 6:1).
Provides a more complete sense of belonging, community and mutual support (Galatians 6:2).
It shows a willingness to submit to spiritual authority and the care of godly leaders, and to be accountable (Hebrews 13:17; Acts 20:28-29; Ephesians 5:21).
Gives me a place to discover and use my gifts in ministry (Romans 12:4-8; I Corinthians 12).
Protects the flock from those who may come in with ulterior motives and/or non-biblical lifestyles (Acts 20:2-30). It may be assuring to know that those members in leadership positions have agreed, through membership, to support this ministry and to be held accountable to a certain standard of Christian conduct and lifestyle.
Allows for participation in decisions that require congregational vote or ratification.
In a culture where commitment is becoming less valued, church membership is an important step that helps to motivate and to move us off the sidelines and into the ‘game’.
Note: Even though you will not find the term ‘church member’ in Scripture, the concept of belonging is stressed throughout the New Testament. Believers clearly identified themselves with a specific local body and were challenged to become devoted participants.
The Church is a family.
Church membership is not the same as membership in a community organization or country club. The Bible speaks of the church as a family, or the ‘household’ of God. Therefore, the level of commitment is much more significant and has deeper and more lasting ramifications.
There are many analogies for a Christian who is disconnected from a church: a football player without a team, a soldier without a platoon, a tuba player without an orchestra and a sheep without a flock. But the most understandable (and Biblical) picture is that of a child without a family. God does not want His children living in isolation from each other. That’s why He created a spiritual family on earth for us. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:19 (Living Bible): “...you belong in God’s household with every other Christian.” A Christian without a church family is an orphan.
We must always remember that we are involved in a serious mission that takes serious commitment. At ECC, our God-given mission is to be ‘committed in simplicity to knowing God, loving people and serving the world.’ As a body we all have a part to play in being faithful toward accomplishing this mission. Maximum commitment = maximum impact! In Acts 2 we see the body of believers making a serious commitment to Christ and to the body, and the results were amazing and exciting – “…Three thousand were added to their number that day.” (Acts 2:41); “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47)
At ECC, joining the Core Team does not simply mean your name is on some list. Nor does it mean you’ll receive an engraved plaque or a reserved parking space. We also know there are some “ECC’ers” who are very committed to this local church and its mission, but whom for their own reasons have not become Core Team members. We respect that. Yet we still believe that for those who decide to take this step, there can be joy and satisfaction in knowing that you are expressing your commitment to play a valuable and significant role as a partner in what God wants to do in and through Eaglemont Christian Church.
Some of the key steps in the membership process:
Attend Core Course 101 – receive a Core Team application at this course. Complete and submit the application.
Participation in an interview with one of the ECC leaders may be required.
Sign the Core Team Membership Covenant.