Why Church Membership?

churchmembership1628We’ve recently had a quite a few people join Grace Bible as members. Praise God for that! But with the influx of members and the announcement and welcome of those members sometimes comes the question, WHY CHURCH MEMBERSHIP?

Church membership is something that I have grown in my appreciation of over the years. At our last membership meeting one of our elders explained how 2 years ago, on our annual elder retreat, we looked at Hebrews 13:17 where church leaders are described as keeping watch over souls “as those who will have to give an account.” Our natural response as elders was, who’s souls are we going to give an account for??? The words in Hebrews require us to think about how we determine who is in our scope of responsibility. We didn’t build our whole understanding of church membership around this verse, but it was one of many that informed us and helped us to have a greater appreciation for biblical church membership.

But while we as leaders and as a church have come to value church membership MORE, at the same time, church membership has become LESS valuable in our culture, and among many people who profess Jesus as Savior. Maybe you’ve heard, or maybe even  at one time, said, things like:

“I love Jesus. But the church, not so much”

“Membership? Sounds like a private club?”

“I’m a Christian, why would I need to be a member?”

Dolly Parton’s character ‘Truvy’ in Steel Magnolia’s said: “God don’t care which church you go, long as you show up.” We don’t want to disagree with Truvy, do we? 🙂
I can relate to questions and hesitations about church membership. I was skeptical of church membership when I first got involved in church.  We need to be patient with people who have reservations about membership and NOT leave people feeling unloved if they are NOT members. At the same time it’s important for us to see the value in what God is calling people to be a part of. Misinformation and lack of information runs amuck. We need to help God’s people better understand membership. The question really comes down to, is it biblical, or not? Below are links to three posts that church members will find helpful to explain why they chose membership, and helpful to non-members to explore biblical church membership.
2. Here’s another post with more specific Bible references: http://www.gty.org/resources/distinctives/DD03/church-membership
3. Here’s another informative post by pastor Matt Chandler http://9marks.org/article/journalchurch-membership-biblical/

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