[He] wants to enjoy its advantages without any obligation on his part. He wants convenience without commitment, to be served rather than to serve... When you join a church, you're saying you believe in taking your individual part and that you don't want to be a spiritual hitchhiker.1
Contrasting "Hitchhiking" with "Membership"
Application as a Church
Once it is clear what a spiritual hitchhiker is, we should seek to help those who appear to be stuck in that situation. However, we must do so with wisdom. Consider the teaching of Jesus:
The first spiritual hitchhiker we must be aware of is Self! As Robert Robinson wrote back in the 1700's, we are "prone to wander... prone to leave the God I love." We must be diligent to examine ourselves with sober judgment (Rom. 12:3), so that we might better help one another.
- Are you a member in name but not in practice?
- Are you familiar with the church covenant?
- Do you desire for others to help you grow in holiness?
- Do you desire to help others grow in holiness?
- What are some reasons we (collectively... historically) have not practiced meaningful membership? What are some reasons this sounds hard to do (personally)?
- What questions do I have that I need to work through as I think about what membership means (or should mean) for our church?