Should I Pursue Church Membership?
We live in a culture that prioritizes independence. The American way is to go it alone. To need other people is to show weakness. These attitudes have affected many believers’ view of the Christian life. “I can live out my Christian life on my own. I don’t need the church and certainly do not need to commit to it as a member. That is sort of old school.”
The local church must prioritize and herald church membership. Why? When believers take the independent approach to living out their Christian life, they will be hindered in their Christian walk and the church will be unable to fulfill its purposes as defined by the New Testament.
Many believers never join a church, they simply attend on a Sunday and may even move from church to church for various reasons. Membership is not regarded as important. In fact, many church leaders would confess that there is no need for church membership. However, the mentality of our culture must not effect our view of the church and our need as believers to commit in membership to a local church. Why is membership important to the local church?
When a believer formally joins a local church body in membership, he or she expresses and experiences his identity as believer: a member of the body of Christ. When we become a member of a local church we experience the full reality of our Christian identity and our relationship with Christ and other believers.
Defining Church MembershipWhen we become a member of a local church we experience the full reality of our Christian identity and our relationship with Christ and other believers.
When an individual us saved by becoming a believer of Jesus Christ by faith, the Scriptures teach that that individual is baptized into the body of Christ. In First Corinthians 12:13 the Apostle Paul writes, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” At the moment of faith, an individual is united to Christ and also baptized or immersed into the body of Christ. Scripture defines the Body of Christ as His church. If an individual is united to Christ and placed into His body, the church, how then can that individual express or experience what Christ has made him without joining a local church?
Therefore, the purpose of formal church membership at its very core is to enable believers to express what Christ has made them, a member of His body. Apart from this commitment, the believer stands on the fringe, never experiencing his true identity in Christ, and misses the power, blessing and benefits that he can be to the church and that the church will be to him.
The Need for Formality in Church Membership
Some ask the question, “I attend this church, aren’t I then a member?” That is a good question that causes us to consider our understanding of commitment and our union to the body of Christ. One of the greatest commitments a man can make in his life is in marriage to his wife. The marriage bond is a commitment that is engaged in by man, sealed by the Lord and signified through the rings, vows, ceremony and license.
No man could convince a woman, or himself for that matter, that he was committed to her without the formalities of marriage that have been the norm for centuries. The rings, the vows, the ceremony, the pastoral oversight, the ceremony and the license all serve to signal and solidify a man’s commitment to a woman. Membership in a local church signals a commitment in the very same way.
When a believer joins a local church body through a formal membership process and commitment, he or she is signaling to his own heart, to the church leadership, to the church body and to Christ Himself a commitment to be what Christ has made that believer. Without the formal commitment he cannot be or express his desire to be a member of the body of Christ. Therefore, local churches along with their leadership must embrace and make formal membership a priority in the church for its sake and the sake of the believer.
Church Membership Makes Healthy Church Members
Not only does church membership allow a believer to express his new identity as a member of the body of Christ, church membership also produces healthy church members. By being formally committed to a local church, that new member finds himself in a position to gain many spiritual benefits:
- Spiritual Accountability. Through membership, a believers places himself under the authority and care of spiritually qualified elders whom God has placed in their life to be shepherd and protector of their life and souls. 1 Peter 5:2
- Spiritual Edification. Through membership, a believer signals to other believers in the church a commitment to them and to be a mutual source of edification and encouragement. 1 Corinthians 12:7
- Spiritual Unity. Through membership, a believers strengthens the bond of unity that gives the local church its strength and ability to manifest and proclaim Christ to the world. John 17:23
- Spiritual Growth. Through membership, a believers becomes an instrument that is used by Christ to perfectly equip each local church to fulfill its gospel purposes and mission. Ephesians 4:14-16
- Spiritual Testimony. Through membership, a believer validates his own gospel testimony. By being committed to the church for which Christ came and died, a believer then lives out what he professes and proclaims to the lost in the gospel.
Church Membership Process at Cascades Bible
How do I become a member of Cascades Bible Church?
First, we encourage you to begin attending our services and learning more about our church, its beliefs and ministries.
Second, we have developed a membership packet that is available on Sunday mornings at our resource table. We ask all potential new members to pick up a pack and review our and fill out our membership application and covenant as well as review the governing documents of our church.
Third, after filling out an signing the membership covenant, we invite you to schedule an informal interview with our pastor. These interviews take place on a Sunday morning at the end of our services and are for the purpose of reviewing the application, answering questions and talking about ministry opportunities within our body of Christ.
Fourth, and finally, be presented before the congregation along with other new members at the conclusion of one of our services.
For more information or if you have any questions about church membership, please email Pastor Brent at [email protected]