It will be my pleasure this morning to welcome into fellowship three new church members. I recall, as a teenager, arguing with my pastor and youth leader about membership, impetuously demanding to know which chapter and verse said Christians should ‘become members’. Of course, no such verse exists. So why do we make people members?

There is a legal requirement for us as a charity to have a formal membership, as an accountability measure for the leadership. It’s also a fundamental principle of congregationalism. Rather than being led by priestly tyranny or the mob, the independent church is governed by its Church Meeting constituting the gathered people of God. Thirdly, it’s a public declaration that in this particular corner of the Lord’s vineyard you have made your home and plan to stay.

That they have asked to become members is all the more remarkable in light of my personal policy of never asking anyone to join. I pray to God that these three saints will be used mightily by the God who called them to this place.