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2BC BLOG

Am I a 2BC Votary? by Connie McNeill

It’s a real word and according to Dictionary.com, it is a noun. The plural is vo·ta·ries. Also vo·ta·rist. Meanings include a person who is bound by solemn religious vows, as a monk or a nun. An adherent of a religion or cult; a worshiper of a particular deity or sacred personage. A person who is devoted or addicted to some subject or pursuit: a votary of jazz. A devoted follower or admirer. 
Am I a 2BC votary? Well, maybe…kinda…sorta. Most of us who gather here regularly to worship and participate in community would say that we are certainly votaries for Christ and that is utmost. For some time, we have published and talked about the “foundational commitments of membership.” Ring any memory bells yet?

Members are to gather regularly for worship. We cite Hebrews 10:19-25 as the biblical reason. Members are to choose to one thing per year focused on spiritual growth as Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-25 teaches us. We believe that 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 is the foundation for members giving in proportion to our income with the goal being the tithe. Fourth, members are to do one act of service per month within the church and volunteer 10-15 hours a year outside the church. The basis for this is found in 1 Corinthians 12:4-13. 

One can and some do all of that without ever formalizing membership so why is formalizing membership important to us? There may not be one best reason but it helps us “shepherd” you better. I think there are many reasons that throughout the New Testament when the early church leaders talk about the community of believers they talk about why that community took place in the church. Formalizing your membership is a public statement that you want to be identified with this community of believers. It also means that you want to represent it when you are going about your daily living.

Committing to membership, formally, says to the community that you want to give to it, maybe even more than you expect to get from it. It also says that you are part of something, with others, that is bigger than yourself. In scripture, Paul says we are each a part of the body of Christ; Paul doesn’t say we are like the body of Christ. The church is the body and each committed member is a part of that body. Church membership is very different from club membership. It is a biblical expression of a connectedness that is a covenant we are joined into as parts of Christ’s body.

We do join things. I would guess that your wallet would reflect memberships with Sam’s, Costco, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Cookie Club at Eileen’s Cookies? Does your favorite exercise place require a membership? How about your air travel club? Or that Hertz Gold membership? We pay them, most of the time, to use their services or buy their goods. That formalized relationship and exchanges of value puts skin in the game in those relationships. And, if we don’t keep it active, the access we have had to what we joined to have in the first place, goes away.

Church membership certainly doesn’t save us. It does, however, help us fight the culture of individualistic spiritualism which is antithetical to what we see in the early church teachings in scripture. Formalizing a relationship with a church, with this church, should help us grow and mature in Christ with others who encourage and share this covenant with us. 

If you are interested in formalizing your membership at 2BC, contact any of the pastoral staff or call the church office and speak to Ellen Gregory (who works Monday and Wednesday) and one of them can give you information about this process. (Click on this picture to enlarge.)
Posted by Connie McNeill at 6:00 AM
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