One of the most unsettling times of my Christian life was from October 2000 to January 2001. It was in this period that we were found attending our present church, Feltham Evangelical Church, but were not members of the church. We had left our previous fellowship, but the proper processes of considering our membership meant that May Lin and myself had to wait until early 2001 before we could actually be accepted as members.
This period was unsettling because:-
- I felt homeless. The fact that we were not formally within the embrace of a community of God’s people seemed somewhat anathema to how things should be. So many Christians seem to take church membership as an optional extra. I just cannot get my mind around that. How can you choose to be effectively homeless when the blessings of a church fellowship are available.
- I felt abnormal. The normal Christian experience of living in fellowship with a group of believers to whom you are committed was not available to me. What a relief it was to have that period ended. How is it that so many Christians fail to accept the teaching of the New Testament that every true Christian should be in church membership? The work of 9Marks (see here) has been so valuable in establishing the normality of church membership.
- I felt failing in my responsibilities. It is my responsibility as a husband and a father to lead my family in the proper ways of the Lord. I contradict my convictions before my family when I am not committed to a fellowship of the Lord’s people. This goes beyond church membership in so many ways, but church membership nevertheless is an aspect of it. So many men seem unwilling to step up to lead their families in the true ways of the Lord; it grieves me much that this is the case.
Happily we were brought into church membership at Feltham in January 2001 and it has been our privilege to share with the group of believers there since that time.