You may have been part of a local church for many years, or maybe you were part of a church in the past but have grown away from it, or maybe you've never been part of a church and are curious about what it's all about. No matter where you are in your spiritual journey, you're welcome at Maple Grove Covenant. And whether you're just curious about what it means to be a Christian, or you've followed Jesus for many years, we'd love to help you take whatever "next step" is appropriate for you at this point in your life if we're able.
The term Christian goes back to the earliest days of the Church. Many people think of themselves as "Christians," but may not be entirely clear on what that means. Some think of being "Christian" as basically being a good or nice person. Others think of it as being someone who goes to church or has been baptized or confirmed. All of those are good things, but they don't adequately reflect what a Christian is.
To be a Christian is to be someone who has intentionally chosen to follow Jesus as Savior and Lord. Biblical Christians are people who have recognized their need for salvation from sin and are devoted to following what Scripture teaches about following Jesus themselves. Whether they can identify a specific day or time when they chose to follow him, or simply know right now that they want to follow him doesn't really matter. What matters is that they are committed to living as Jesus teaches us to live.
Following Christ is not just a one-time decision. It's a daily determination to give Jesus all of us and all our lives. God has provided many ways to help us do that. Many of these are often called "Spiritual Disciplines" - meaning that they are habits we develop over time that teach us to trust God in our decision-making, think in ways that reflect His character and purposes, and live in ways that are consistent with how God has created us to live. This is not a complete list, but here are some of the most basic "disciplines" or "habits" followers of Jesus find helpful:
Some of these are individual habits you can pursue on your own. Others are ones that can be (or must be pursued) with other Christians through a local church or other groups. No one of them "does it all," so developing several of them over time is important to keeping yourself spiritually healthy and whole.
- Regular Worship Participation
- Daily Bible Reading
Being part of a local church is important. God has created us to live in relationship with others, both for our wellbeing as well as theirs. So, whether you're a formal member or just a regular attender, being part of a local church is a lot different than being part of a fitness, social or some other club. If you choose to be part of Maple Grove Covenant, here's what you should expect or strive for:
- To participate regularly in weekly worship.
- To be part of on regular growth opportunity, whether an adult class, a community group, or some other ministry designed to help you follow Jesus.
- To serve in one area of ministry that fits your gifts, passions, and experience.
- To support the church and its mission financially according to your capacity.
- To live in a way that invites others to follow Jesus as well.
Sometimes people think that simply attending a church makes them "members." In some ways that's true since many of the responsibilities of being a regular attender aren't that different from being a member. But there are two key areas where church membership is significantly different.
Many times, regular attenders who are deeply committed to the church and its ministry will ask why they should become members. Perhaps a better question is, why would they not? Regardless of where you're at on that question, though, our first desire is to help you take whatever "next step" God is calling you to in your own relationship with Jesus. That is the most important thing that we're about.
- Church members can participate in major church decision-making in ways that attenders do not. The selection of leaders, adoption of budgets, approval constitutional and bylaw changes, and similar decisions are reserved to members and are not available to attenders.
- Opportunities to serve in key leadership roles, such as on the leadership team and pastoral search committees are also limited to church members.