Confirmation Sunday – 23 September 2012
Duties of Church MembershipAim of the lesson:
• To look at what is involved in being full and responsible members of the
Study passages: 2 Corinthians 9:6-12, Colossians 3:5-17, Hebrews 10:19-25, 13:1-7, 1 Peter 4:7-11, Mark 1:14-20, Romans 8:12-17, Jeremiah 31:31-34
• Conditions of membership. Any club or organisation has conditions of membership and duties which it lays down for its members. The Methodist Church is no different. It lays down three simple requirements for membership:
A sincere desire to be saved from sin
Faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour
Involvement in the fellowship of the Church
• These three conditions are stated in our "Laws and Discipline" as follows:
"Membership is based upon a personal experience of the Lord Jesus Christ, brought about by his Spirit.
"All persons are welcomed into membership who sincerely desire to be saved from their sins through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and show the same in life and conduct, and who seek to have fellowship with Christ himself and his people by taking up the duties and privileges of the Methodist Church.
"As membership in the Church also involves fellowship it is the duty of all members in the Church to seek to cultivate this in every possible way."
• Duties of Church membership - The following eight things should probably be regarded as minimum goals for members of the Church:
1. To follow the example of Christ in home and daily life.
2. To bear personal witness to Jesus Christ.
3. To be regular in private prayer each day.
4. To read the Bible each day and seek to be obedient to God's Word.
5. To attend worship every Sunday.
6. To receive Holy Communion regularly.
7. To give meaningful financial support to the work of the Church, locally and for the wider mission field.
8. To be involved in serving others in the Church and community.
As we grow in our faith and walk with the Lord we will understand these duties at a deeper and clearer level. We may add others to the list, but these will always remain a basic minimum for us.
Questions for discussion:
1. Read through all the study passages carefully. What do they teach us about the conditions of membership in the early Church? Make a list
2. What do you think of the three basic conditions for membership in the Methodist Church? Are they reasonable? Should there be others?
3. Go through the eight suggested duties one by one. What does each one mean? Are they too strict, not strict enough, or about right?
4. What should the Church do about people who want to be members, but don't want to accept any of the responsibilities of membership?
5. As a group make a list of some ways in which you could become more involved in the activities of your local church.
Something to do:
Spend some time thinking about how you have worked out the implications of your Confirmation. Have you kept the vows you once made? How can you make your membership of the Church count for something?