Joining a church is one of the best decisions one can make in life. It is where community and lifelong friendships begin. Church membership should be taken seriously as it is a statement about your faith and your direction in life and your alignment with Christians in a community. Many times it is confusing as to what to do next after joining a church. Below I have listed three steps you can take as a new church member to start this journey.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25
This is the most important item in this list in my opinion. These areas of ministry are what allow you as a new church member to build relationships in a community of believers and go deeper in your understanding of the bible and the Christian life. The people in these groups will become your friends and prayer partners and walk with you through the trials and joyful times in your years to come. Most churches have information tables or booths on how to get started with small groups or Sunday school. If you still have questions then a pastor will be able to point you in the right direction.
Pray for church leadership.
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding… – Colossians 1:9
As members of the church it is our responsibility to pray for the Church’s leadership. They lead very complex lives, always negotiating personal life and ministry in a situation where the two mix together frequently. For pastors, there are long hours of sermon preparation mixed with hospital visits, funerals and executive level decision-making. This is on top of leading their families. Satan is constantly throwing obstacles in the way of a ministry leader. Your prayers help form a line of defense to protect these treasured assets of the church. One of the best things you can ask your pastor is “How can I pray for you?”. You’ll be surprised at how that question is welcomed.
And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” – Mark 12:41-44
This subject makes most people feel uncomfortable. Who am I to talk about your money? I could start by listing a few bible verses that give us the biblical reason for tithing but here’s a practical reason: churches need money to keep going. Buildings and utilities cost money. The pastors need to eat and feed their families. There are supplies to maintain and operate the facilities. For most churches there are missionaries to support some of the greatest work in the Kingdom. The church relies heavily on the church member for tithes to keep the ministry going. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of people in every church tithe regularly.
It is a little unnerving to go from nothing to suddenly giving 10% of your gross income (more on this in another post). I suggest starting small with 1% and work your way up over time. Make sure you have a budget and pray fervently about the adjustments you can make in your life to live off of 90% of your income.
What are some other ways new church members can get involved in the church?