On one of the worship leader forums I'm a part of, the below comment was made in a discussion about Commitment to a Church/Worship Team:
I play and sing at two different churches. Therefore, I don’t attend either church when I am not playing. Nobody at either church has a problem with that. I know that there are several other musicians and singers that also play at more than one church. Each of the two churches that I play at require only a commitment to show up and play good music. Neither has a requirement to be a member. Neither has a requirement to be “involved” in church activities, other than playing music.
I don’t know a whole lot about the other musicians that I play with. I don’t think that most others know me. This doesn’t cause any problems with anybody, in either church.
My point is, that in two churches, at least, all of the “requirements” are not necessary.
Maybe it's just me, but the attitude of this individual and these churches just goes against everything I've ever known to be true about the body of Christ (ie. the church). Don't get me wrong...I think it's an awesome thing when people can feel free to help out other churches in ministry. We've "borrowed" musicians from other churches in the past when we've had a hole to fill, and we do several things throughout the year where we invite other church bodies to join with us.
The issue here is, as the commenter so clearly spelled out, this individual is not a "member" of any local church body, and neither of the churches he plays in seems to care. If I know anything about the Scriptures and God's call on the Christian life, it is that He has never called any believer to go for an extended period of time without joining themselves as a member of a local church body. Whether that commitment means signing your name to a church covenant or simply agreeing in your heart and with your mouth that you're committed doesn't really matter, as long as there is an acknowledged commitment.
By "member", what exactly do I mean? I'm not talking about being a member of a church like you might be a member of the boy scouts or a member of a book club...I'm talking about being an actual, physical member of the "body" of Christ, as outlined in I Corinthians 12. Literally, a serving hand, balancing finger, a listening ear in the living body of Christ on this earth, committed to serving the rest of the body in an intimate way. This, according to the Word of God, is how each and every believer should be seeking to live his/her life.
It seems to me that people who have no commitment to a local church are nothing more than a prosthetic limb. Typically, prosthetics look and act like the real thing at first glance, but a closer look reveals that they are hallow, hard, cold and stiff. A prosthetic limb is used only when needed to serve a very specific task. It has no real connection with the rest of the body.
This person has no blood vessels that connect him with the heart and breath of the body he serves. He has no muscles or tendons to connect him to the power and strength of the body he serves. He has no skin to connect him to the protection and intimacy of the body he serves. He has no nerves to connect him with the feelings and emotions of the body he serves.
He is only used for a specific purpose, meaning he is completely useless for anything else. If he hangs around when he is not being used, he is literally a dead weight. And, really, he's filling space on the body that could be given to somebody who is willing to commit to being a real, physical part of the body.
And, the thing that really gets me about all of this is the fact that the two specific church bodies mentioned above really don't seem to care. They both have an opportunity to bring this individual in and help him learn to experience what the body of Christ is really all about. They have an opportunity to help this person grow some roots and mature, but instead, they're only helping to further this individual's immature idea of what being a member of the body is all about.
Ultimately, prosthetic limbs get banged up or outgrown and discarded. In contract, I don't know anyone who would cut of their healthy left arm and chunk it in the garbage just for the heck of it.
Surely, this kind of attitude is totally acceptable in the world, where people are often invested in their jobs only as far as their paychecks, committed to their hobbies only as far as it satisfies their personal goals, willing to spend energy in their friendships only as far as they are receiving something in return.
But, the church has been called out by the Living God to be different. We've been called to commit, invest and give sacrificially to a local body. I just don't understand how any single Christ follower can even survive living with anything short of that...surely God has created us for more?
PS. As I said, the commenter confesses to know and follow Christ, so, for the sake of clarity, we're not discussing using seekers/unchurched as musicians in a church band...that's an entirely different discussion altogether.