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Reasons for Church Membership
Although the New Testament doesn’t mention church membership, it assumes it.
Church membership is a biblically defensible doctrine … The NT demonstrates that this membership is not merely in the universal church but is also comprised of belonging to and being in covenant with a local assembly of believers. God calls for believers to gather locally, administer ordinances, exercise the authority of the keys of the kingdom, fulfill the “one another” commands, hold one another accountable, and exercise church discipline. Thus, while church membership is not explicitly mentioned in numerous places in the NT, one can see that all of the items listed previously assume and demand that people gathered locally and living out and overseeing one’s discipleship in specific ways. The Bible, therefor, calls us to submit to local church membership.
From an article at 9Marks:
- It commits you, the Christian. It’s good to commit yourself to love and serve others. You will grow as a Christian as you commit to encourage, build up, strengthen, serve, rebuke, and pray for other Christians.
- Others are committed to you. Becoming a member of a church means joining with an entire group of Christians who have now covenanted to watch over you spiritually. If you’re a member of a church you have an entire church full of people who are publicly committed to loving you and serving you and watching over you.
- Elder protection. If you’re a member of a church, that church’s elders and pastors should care for you, pray for you, and personally counsel and teach you. As a member of their church, they are accountable to God for how they lead you (Heb. 13:17).
- Safety net. In his book Stop Dating the Church, Josh Harris points out that it’s comforting to know his church would kick him out rather than tolerate his unrepentant sin. Being a church member means that a whole church full of people are committed to helping you live a life that’s pleasing to God, even to the point of excluding you from the church if you stop repenting of sin. While this sounds harsh to some, to those of us who know the deceitfulness of sin, this is an immensely comforting and encouraging reality (Hebrews 3:12).
- Assurance. Membership is the church’s affirmation of the validity of someone’s profession of faith (Matthew 16:19, 18:18). The church looks at a person’s life, hears their explanation of the gospel and how they came to believe it, and says, “You look like a Christian to us. So join us. Watch over our lives and we’ll watch over yours.” So while membership in a church doesn’t guarantee that someone is a Christian, it should assure believers of the genuineness of their faith.
Becoming a member of Liberty Grace Church proceeds in three stages:
The first stage is stuff you will need to do.
- Attend a membership class.
- Submit your membership application online (a brief questionnaire and your written testimony).
- Meet with an elder (and often another member) to review your
application and clarify any questions you may have.
The second stage is stuff the elders and members will do. Once stage one is successfully completed, the elders will recommend you to the members for membership.
- Your testimony will be distributed to the membership at least two weeks prior to the next Members’ Meeting. The purpose of this is to encourage the existing members to get to know you.
- A vote of affirmation will take place at that Members’ Meeting. You will be informed of the results of this vote soon after the meeting.
- After the affirmation, the elders will approve your membership.
The last stage is for all of us. After an affirmative vote by the members you will formally join the church during a Sunday service. You will agree to the Membership Covenant in one of our corporate worship services. (You will be notified of the date for this in advance.)
Once that is done, you are a member of this church!