What is the importance of becoming a partner/member of a local church?
The answer is simple.
Church membership is biblical.
Christ’s followers aren’t meant to simply attend church, rather we
are called to BE the church. We are called to commit to one local body
of believers and begin serving, giving, loving, encouraging, and
furthering the Kingdom of God.
God wants us to commit ourselves to a local church. This can be looked at in three ways:
1. 1 Corinthians 12:14 states: “For the body does not consist of one
member but of many.” This is where we are introduced to the word
“member” in the New Testament as it relates to the church. We know that
1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 is specifically talking about not only the
global church but also the local church and that we identify ourselves
with the head of the church (Jesus Christ – Ephesians 1) as members of His
body (i.e. feet, hands, ears, eyes, etc…). That is our validation
within the body of Christ. That is our identification. A similar
implication is held for those who have gym memberships. People become
members of a gym in order to identify with that one specific gym. There
are many gyms to choose from, each one accomplishing the same objective
(to give people the chance to get in shape), but one must become a
member of that particular gym in order to identify with it.
2. Acts 2:47 states: “And the Lord added to the church daily those
who were being saved.” This term “added” gives us the sense that there
was something to which these numbers were being added to (the church).
This is definitely referring to the local body of Christ because we
know that it is speaking of the church in Jerusalem. Again, using the
above analogy, individual gyms shoot for the goal of adding numbers to
their particular gym, just as individual churches should be focused on
adding numbers to the family of Christ. And the end result is that
these people, upon their commitment, become members.
3. Accountability within the church gives us the third and final
example for why church membership is biblical. God’s people are
exceptionally loved and valued by Him. The church has the ability to
fulfill the requirement of an appropriate measure of care and
accountability that we all need. When challenges, difficulties and
brokenness experienced by all of us at times transpires, the church will
be there to implement Galatians 6:1 “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in
any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of
gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted,” a loving,
compassionate, and sustainable process of restoration. This is the
goal, care, oversight and if need be restoration for each member of the
body of Christ. This process would not apply for somebody who is not a member. This type of approach within the church is biblical and
obviously important but it would not be necessary and would frankly be
irrelevant if church membership wasn’t also a valid Biblical concept.