What is the importance of church membership and why do I have to become a member of the local church? This is a common question among believers and even amongst those who are currently members of a local church. There might not necessarily be opposition to it, but rather confusion as to its significance. My primary purpose is to be faithful to the teaching of Scripture and to clearly communicate what God says concerning this vitally important topic as it speaks to the believer’s responsibility to the body of Christ and to the function of the local church.
A secondary purpose is to engage and encourage those who have been attending a church for some time now but have not committed to becoming a member there for whatever reason. On Sunday, March 18th, our church will be having a membership class and so it is my prayer and intention to bring to your consideration the importance of local church membership.
Church membership is a commitment to unite with an identifiable spiritual body of believers who have joined together geographically for specific, divinely ordained purposes. These include receiving instruction from God’s Word (1 Tim 4:13; 2 Tim 4:2), the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph 4:7-12), serving and edifying one another through the proper use of spiritual gifts (Rom 12:3-8; 1 Cor 12:4-31; 1 Pet 4:10-11), participating in the ordinances of baptism and communion (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42), and proclaiming the gospel to unbelievers (Matt 28:18-20).
So why should you join/become a member of a local church? Why does Immanuel Baptist Church desire for regularly attending believers to become members? Here are 3 biblical reasons:
1) The Existence of Church Government Demands Formal Membership
Each local body of believers is to be overseen by a plurality of elders. The specific duties given to these elders presuppose a clearly defined group of church members who are under their care. Among other things, these godly men are responsible to shepherd God’s people (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:2), labor diligently among them (1 Thess 5:12), have charge over them (1 Thess 5:12; 1 Tim 5:17), and keep watch over their souls (Heb 13:17).
Scripture teaches that the elders will give an account to God for the individuals allotted to their charge (Heb 13:17; 1 Pet 5:3). This cannot be done apart from the identification and limitation that comes with formal membership.
Identification: The elders must be able to identify members allotted to their care for the purpose of providing proper oversight. How can they do this if there is not a distinguishable, mutually understood membership in the local church?
Limitation: The elders of a given church are not responsible for the spiritual well-being of every individual who visits the church or who attends sporadically. They are primarily responsible to shepherd those who have submitted themselves to the care and authority of the elders, and this is done through church membership.
Furthermore, all believers are commanded to submit to a godly group of elders (Heb 13:17a). Among other things, believers are supposed to follow their leaders (Heb 13:7), obey leaders (Heb 13:17a), and let them lead with joy (Heb 13:17b).
How can these be exercised apart from formal church membership? To which elders are you submitting? Who are your leaders? This implies that every believer knows who he/she must submit to, which assumes a clearly defined church membership. Thus, the existence of church government as laid out in Scripture demands a formal local church membership. Please stay tuned for next week’s blog for reasons 2 and 3.
PREPARING FOR SUNDAY
God’s Power & Jonah’s Prayer
Dr. Daniel Davey
– Ministry Presentation – Rita Beale, CEF State Director/
– Business Meeting
The Security Committee has been working on measures to make our church safer during our meetings, particularly on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. Starting on Wednesday, March 14th the following will be in effect:
Wednesday nights – All doors on the south end of the church (parking lot glass doors, library door, Mizpah Room door and courtyard glass doors) will be locked at 7:15 PM and reopened at 8:15 PM. All these doors have push bars for exiting. If you would like to enter the church after 7:15 PM, please come around to the north glass doors near the office.
Sunday nights – The north and south glass doors and the north transept door will be locked at 6:45 PM. If you would like to enter the sanctuary after 6:45 PM please enter through the Thompson Street doors.
If you have any questions, please contact Bob Andrews or Paul Dreiling
Easter Flowers: We will have mums and hydrangeas available if you would like to order one in memory or honor of someone for Easter Sunday. Cost is $12 for mums and $18 for hydrangeas. Make checks out to IBC and drop them by the office or mail to the church. Deadline is March 5th. Click here to order.
If you have been worshipping with us and would like to learn more about our church, or think you might be interested in becoming a member, we invite you to attend our upcoming new members class Sunday, March 18, after the morning worship service. Lunch is provided so please reserve your spot today.
Wednesday, March 7th, 6:45 – 8:15 PM / Annex
The purpose of the meeting is to get more face time with parents as well as go over what we have been doing and what to look forward to. There will also be a time to ask any questions that you might have. No need to RSVP, just show up!
Save the Date for VBS:
July 30 – August 3, 9 AM to 12 PM
Feb. 25 – Business Meeting
March 11 – Daylight Savings Time
March 16-17 – Church Wide Cleaning Day
March 18 – Membership Class
-Gilliam Report, Reception & Offering, PM