WHY IS THE LOCAL CHURCH IMPORTANT?
Because God plans on using the church to accomplish His purposes for creation.
God created man to reflect his nature in the world. The local church does just that as it creates a tangible expression of God’s love so that the invisible things of God are seen through our interactions with one another.
Because the church provides an opportunity to collectively encourage each other in our great hope.
Many people in our world experience the gap between themselves and God. As such, there are many religions and practices that encourage self-improvement. But Christianity says we have no way of bridging that gap apart from Jesus. As we gather together, not only are we reminded of this truth, but we are able to show the world a better hope.
Because a healthy church can be the greatest platform of evangelism.
We are once-broken people, healed by God and repentant sinners who have received God’s forgiveness. Therefore, as a church, we have the power to draw broken people who desire to be freed from the despair and hopelessness of life apart from Jesus.
WHY BECOME A MEMBER?
God’s plan from the beginning of time was for us to live in community with one another.
In Genesis 1, for the first five days that God speaks creation into existence, it obeys instantly and each time God proclaims It is good. However, on the sixth day, when God creates man, He does something special. God inputs His image so that man can relate to Him and reflect His nature in the world. However, interestingly, this time God does not stop and proclaim It is good. Here was Adam: no sin, no pain, abundant garden, perfect communion with God; yet, God said it wasn’t good to be alone and thus created Eve. God’s plan from the start was for us to get to know Him better through each other, and we experience something of His nature in community that we don’t experience when we are alone.
Once we have repented of our sin and turned our lives over to Jesus in faith, we are adopted into the family of God.
Our adoption not only gives us a new father, but new brothers and sisters as well. When we put our trust in Jesus, not only is there an identity change, but there is also a community change. We are now a part of a family: God’s family. And to not commit to this family as a member makes no more sense than not committing to our own biological families.
The Bible promotes corporate relationship with God.
The Old Testament is God’s journey of saving a group of people. The book of Acts depicts people following Jesus in community with each other. And all of Paul’s letters are either to pastors of churches, to churches, or to individuals dealing with interpersonal relationships.
It is impossible to fully participate in the kingdom of God if we are not in relationship with one another.
As Christians, one of our primary responsibilities is to love one another, and we can only do that if we are in community. We are also commanded to encourage, help, and build one another up in the faith. These are specific commands in scripture, and we cannot possibly fulfill them if we are isolated.
God’s big plan for our lives isn’t individualistic.
God gives us specific gifts and talents, and if we don’t use them or keep them to ourselves, we are robbing God’s people of those gifts. God does not intend for us to waste those gifts He gives us. His aim is for us to use them for the purpose of building and growing a people for Himself.
Finally, we cannot become mature Christians if we are not in community with other believers.
Trials are the test of our faith, and it is our brothers and sisters in Christ who encourage us when we are in the thick of troubles and sharpen us when we err. It is our privilege to pray and care for each other when we are sick; hold each other up when we are weak; and keep each other accountable when we are tempted to sin. To serve each other in this way is how we not only grow with each other, but it serves as the means for us to grow in our relationship with God.
OUR MEMBERSHIP PROCESS: BECOMING A MEMBER
Step 1: Attend a New Member Orientation
If you’ve been coming to Cornerstone and want to take the next step towards officially joining our family (or you’re still on the fence and just want to know more about our heartbeat as a church), then this time is for you. It’s really informal. We’ll meet on Friday night and Saturday morning and talk about the life of our church as we sit and share a few meals together. We’ll spend our time sharing the story of how we came to be a church, the importance of a local church in God’s plan for all of us, what we believe as a church and what our life together looks like as a church. In a weekend, you’ll get a well rounded picture of who we are as at Cornerstone and how you can be involved.
Step 2: Meet with a Pastor
After you complete the weekend orientation, we’ll schedule a time for you to meet with one of the pastors. Don’t be intimidated, this is a time specifically designed for you. At Cornerstone, we don’t believe the church is like a family, we believe the church is a family. Therefore, we want to ensure that everyone that wants to join our family has the opportunity to have a touchpoint with one of our pastors. Our pastors are here primarily to serve Cornerstone Church, and we want you to experience this service from day one. This is a great time for you to ask any questions that weren’t answered in our initial orientation. It’s also a great chance for the pastors to get to know you a little better.
Step 3: Receive Affirmation from the Congregation
As a sign of our unwavering commitment to love, support, and cherish new additions to our family, we gather as a congregation to affirm each new member. The reason why we do things this way, as opposed to just having a pastor grant membership, is because when you join a church, you’re not just making a commitment to a pastor. You’re making a commitment to love, care for and serve an entire church community. And that church community is making the same commitment towards you. This is our way of reminding our congregation of the amazing responsibility and honor we have to take care of one another.