Church Membership is much more than a formality: it’s saying that you belong, that you know what a privilege it is to be part of this Christian community, and that you are committed to the vision, values and life of the church.
Everyone is very welcome at Above Bar Church. We seek to be an authentic community which is inclusive, loving and generous. Above Bar Church is the place for people who want to belong.
When a person becomes a Christian, they become part of the body of Christ – the one Church (Ephesians 4:4). But this one global Church is made up of many individual churches around the world (the above reference to the one Church is in a letter sent to the individual church in Ephesus, Ephesians 1:1). Each local church is a local expression of the body of Christ.
Part of what it means to be part of the body of Christ is to be part of a local expression of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). That’s why we think it’s really important to become a church member.
What difference does being a member make?
Membership shows allegiance and commitment to the church family
We live in a consumerist world. For lots of people, the big question is, "What can I get?"
We shouldn’t think the same way in the church. Jesus calls us to do the exact opposite. In Luke 14:27 he says, “Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple”. We should ask, "What can I give?" Of course, people who aren’t members of Above Bar Church give a lot, but membership helps us to intentionally commit ourselves to blessing the church family.
Membership shows we align ourselves under the pastoral care of the leadership
The New Testament requires elders to care for the flock in their charge. It tells elders that they are to have a special responsibility and care for a certain group of Christians.
This is the way Peter speaks to the elders in 1 Peter 5, especially in verses 2 and 3:
“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”
If a person is not a member of a church, they do not benefit from being held accountable by a group of elders or being the special focus of the care of a group of elders.
Membership shows we take responsibility for caring for others in the church
Paul says in Colossians 3:15-16a, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.”
As members of the body we want to protect the integrity of the body. We speak well of it; we give others the benefit of the doubt; we make Sunday services, homegroups and missional communities a priority. We give sacrificially; we pray for our Sent Mission Partners and uphold the central doctrines of the faith.
Members help shape the future of Above Bar Church
We are a congregational church. The leadership team pray and consider God’s future for Above Bar Church, but they do not have the authority to implement major decisions until they are brought to the church membership and are agreed upon by over 75% of the membership.
Interested in becoming a member?
Church membership is a life-sustaining, faith-strengthening, joy-preserving means of God’s mercy to us. If you see your church in Southampton as Above Bar Church, you should become a member. You need Above Bar Church and Above Bar Church needs you.
Please talk to a minister or a member of the leadership team if you are considering becoming a member of Above Bar Church.