Is it like joining a bonus points program like at a coffee shop or use of a cushy place like a country club? Do you get something free if you attend or pray enough? Uh, no. Not that kind of thing at all. You don’t get free stuff and we don’t have cushy facilities.
Church membership is about committing to a local body of believers. Bringing our time, talent, resources and life to serve as a committed part of the church family. It’s about promising to be a part of each others’ lives as we grow in faith and sharing Jesus’ love.
The biblical word for promise or agreement is covenant. We see throughout the Bible that God made a covenant with His people that spoke of relationship, faithfulness and identification. Church Membership is about covenanting and agreeing to be a part of the lives of all of us in the local church as we grow in our our likeness of Jesus. We encourage and support one another. We commit to that in our covenant.
To join a church is about committing to be part of an extended family with particular vision and goals:
Diaspora is about following Jesus. It’s about being a learner and a lover of Jesus and helping others do the same. That’s being a disciple who makes disciples.
There’s legal aspects about membership. For example, adult members get a vote on a few decisions each year. And members of the Core Team need to be an adult member. That is part of membership.
But in Diaspora we’re very strong on everyone who is part of Diaspora’s extended family on mission having a voice in what we do and how we do it. All of our extended family — young and old, member or non-member, — have a voice in our daily church life and the decisions we make. We seek to hear from The Holy Spirit together as we move forward and the Spirit speaks through all of God’s people.
Diaspora functions as a large family with smaller family groups (Disciplemaking Communities or DCs) that seek to reach and serve people with the love of Jesus to make disciples who makes disciples.
Being a church, we have a set of beliefs that we ask people to commit to. Those are based on orthodox Christian biblical teaching and in agreement our denomination, The United Brethren Church in Canada. As well they are affirmed in the Apostles’ Creed. As a document, the Creed goes back to the early days of the church and still speaks to what the Body of Christ, the Church believes.
And it’s not just about beliefs but about how we do church life at Diaspora. Some defining statements for Diaspora include:
Lowering the bar on Sunday morning and raising the bar on discipleship.
Church around the kitchen table or in the living room.
Participation rather than perfection.
We don’t go to church, we are the church.
Church is the people, not a weekly worship event or building.
The church lives through the everyday Jesus-following life of the people.
We have a monthly rhythm of life instead of a weekly worship service.