Village Missions, Missions, AWANA, Church, Lake City, Cadillac, Michigan, Northern Michigan,

Pastor Ron's Food for Thought


Why Become A Church Member?

1. Church Membership is Biblical.

Right after saying church membership is biblical, I will concede that the Bible does not tell us to have a formalized membership nor implement a church covenant. However, the concept of membership is implied throughout the Bible.

Paul instructs Titus to appoint elders in every city (Titus1) to lead, feed and protect those among them. In 1 Pet. 5 there is a charge to the elders to shepherd the flock of God that the Lord has given them charge of. These are just examples of a local community that is identifiable and organized.

Jesus’ plan for church purity in Matthew 18:15 necessitates some type of understanding and application of membership. In 1 Cor. 5 Paul instructs the church to have the one who is persistent in sin put out of the church. How can you have someone put out of the church if you do not know who is in the church?

Like the doctrine of the Trinity, which is never articulated but always implied and reinforced, church membership is biblical.

2. Church Membership is Historical.

Church membership has been practiced throughout church history. This does not make or break the argument but it does help to validate that this is what Christians have been doing. It is not a new idea.

3. Church Membership is Practical.

Christians are called to live in community with mutual accountability and love (Heb. 3:13Eph. 4:11-16). Furthermore, elders (pastors) are called to lead, feed and protect the flock spiritually (1 Pet. 5:1-3). What’s more, pastors are going to give an account for their people (Heb. 13:17). As a pastor, I want to know precisely who I am going to give an account for. Church membership helps to clarify who has willingly put themselves into community and under the pastoral care of the church. We know who is a part of our church family. But membership clarifies community and accountability.

4. Church Membership is Theological.

When someone becomes a Christian, they are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). This is the universal church, the body of believers from throughout history. So, our first priority is to unite with the family, the church. What we need to do is identify with the local body of believers of like faith.

At conversion we are spiritually united to Christ, receiving all of the blessings of new birth. Then we, because of this union to Christ, join together with other believers. So, church membership is the physical expression of the spiritual reality of new life in Christ. Without church membership Christianity looks like a place that is driven by consumers rather than a community that identifies with and is directed by the gospel.

By experience and conviction, church membership is an essential component of clearly establishing, communicating, and sustaining a true gospel community.


Adapted from The Gospel Coalition