The church was meant to be a partnership of shared values, cooperation and responsibility. Our focus on "membership in an organization" rather than a "partnership between friends" has cause a serious shift in what we expect the church to do and to be. This week, as part of our stewardship focus, is to change one word in our relationship to God, to the church and to our relationship to both! Based on Matthew 9:9-13 Why focus on church Partnership rather than Membership? In a day when commitment is a rare commodity, it should come as no surprise that church membership is such a low priority to so many believers. Sadly, it is not uncommon for Christians to hop around from church to church, never submitting themselves to the care of elders and never committing themselves to a group of fellow believers. This kind of “spiritual hitchhiking” often flows from a consumer mentality in which an individual stays put only until something better comes along. Loyalty and commitment are sacrificed on the altar of novelty and excitement. To neglect to join a church as a formal partner, however, not only reflects a misunderstanding of our responsibility to the body of Christ, but also cuts one off from the many blessings and opportunities that flow from this commitment. For this reason, it is essential for every Christian to understand what church partnership is and why it matters. We are not just after “numbers”; this will only perpetuate a consumer mentality. Our goal is fully committed participation (partnership), mutual cooperation and responsibility, working as one toward a common goal.

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