Submitting to church geographically

Jonathan Leeman has an excellent treatment of the nature of church membership and how it relates both to God’s love and discipline, The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love: Reintroducing the Doctrines of Church Membership and Discipline.

In describing how an individual submits to a local congregation of which he is a member, Leeman challenges us to consider what biblical submission to others looks like when it comes to choosing where we live:

Living close to church is hardly a biblical requirement, but it may be prudent, even loving. Our culture’s formula for home selection is simple: how do I get the most for least? But a Christian no longer belongs to himself. He belongs to Christ and Christ’s people. Shouldn’t his formula for home selection, therefore, look a little different? Why not instead choose a residence that will let us count others more significant than ourselves and look to the interests of others?

Leeman describes how believers should consider the location of a good church before looking for homes, how members should obtain counsel from elders when thinking through family moves, and consider where other members of their church live in order to facilitate congregational community.

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