Being a new Christian is an exciting time in one’s discipleship journey. A person has passed from death to life and has been born again by the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet, it can also be a scary time, especially for believers who have entered the faith despite not being raised in a Chrisitan home. It can be daunting to know what to do next and how to be obedient to the call of Christ. For this reason, new believers need to be part of a local community of believers engaging in intentional discipleship. This is what Mark Dever discusses in his new book in the 9Marks Questions series, Why Should I Join a Church? (Crossway, 2020).
In the book, Dever discusses seven reasons why it is vital for all believers, especially new believers, to join a local church. Being part of a local body of believers is crucial for spiritual formation and mutual encouragement. Church membership, while prescribed in Scripture and necessary for Christian growth, must not become a chore. It should be something that is desired, like air and water is for life. Church membership is not merely an event that happens once a week, as an event in a country club. It is like being part of a family that cares and supports one another.
Dever reminds the reader that being part of a local church serves as a reminder that they cannot live the Christian life alone. There will be seasons of suffering, temptation, and even doubt. By being part of the church, one can find refuge and encouragement during these difficult seasons. It is in these seasons that we need most to be pointed back to the gospel. The local body of believers is a beautiful expression of the body of Christ that is being perfected day by day.
Why Should I Join a Church is an excellent resource for a new member’s class or gift to new members in the local church. It is a short and concise read on the theology of the church. Dever packs a ton of material into a small space but does an excellent job of getting his point across to the reader. I would recommend this book to church leaders who are looking for a way to communicate the importance of church membership in their local congregation.