what is church membership?

Church membership is about submitting to God's plan for our lives in Christ as persons-in-community. It's both a biblical practice and a sign of new life.

1. Church membership is a BIBLICAL practice. In the New Testament we find passages that imply formal membership in local assemblies.

  • Paul's formal exclusion of the unrepentant sinner from the Corinthian church suggests formal inclusion.
    {1 Corinthians 5:2, 7, 12-13}
  • Paul's reference to "the majority" in the Corinthian church seems to refer to a group commonly recognized as the church's members. {2 Corinthians 2:6-7}
  • The early church kept a list of widows which suggests that lists of people were kept and tracked.
    {1 Timothy 5:9}
  • God Himself keeps a list of all believers. {Philippians 4:3; Revelation 21:27}
  • God has always made a clear distinction between His people and the world.

2. Church membership is a SIGN of new life in Christ.

  • Church membership signifies a church's corporate endorsement of a person's salvation.
  • Church membership signifies an individual commitment to grasp hold of one another in mutual love and discipleship.
  • Church membership signifies a regular responsibility that involves people in each other's lives for the purposes of the gospel.
  • Church membership signifies an inward love for God and His people.