“… We believe that every born-again believer should be a member of a local New Testament church and should be actively serving the Lord in the church…” (From our Church Articles of Organization).
The Essence of Church Membership
An obedient New Testament Christian’s connection to the local church would involve the following aspects. We have identified this “connection” with the term “membership.”
- Identification—In “membership” the church becomes “my church.” I identify with a particular local church and their doctrines and practices. My “testimony” is wrapped up in the church’s testimony to the world. My testimony affects the testimony of the church. What I do as a member reflects back to the church as a whole.
- Commitment—The Word of God instructed Christians to fulfill certain duties to the local church as a whole and to its individual members. Commitment determines my priorities. Commitment stabilizes and strengthens the church. On a practical level, without commitment and a statement of that commitment (“membership”), the local church cannot know who is “with them” or who will “stay with them.”
- Accountability—New Testament Christians were held accountable to local church leadership and to one another in areas of belief and practice. This is evidenced in biblical church discipline. (If I am not a member of a local church who holds me accountable for doctrine and life?)
- Cooperation—Those who were a part of the church were exhorted to work with the leadership of the church and with one another in a spirit of unity for the advancement of the work of the church and the gospel.