Why Join a Church?
We see 10 reasons to join a church. And all of them are good!
The Expectation of the New Testament.
Membership identified God’s people and the benefits due them.
(Acts 18:27, Rom 16:1-27, 1 Tim 5:1-25)
In 1 Tim 5, for example, the church knew which widows qualified for assistance. It wasn’t just any widow, but specific widows.
The Evidence of Church Leadership.
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” (Heb 13:17)
This verse cuts both ways. Members are commanded to obey and submit to leaders. Leaders will give an account. Membership lets leaders know who they will give an account for.
The Example of the Early Church.
Christians were church members and clearly identified.
(Acts 1:15, 2:41, 4:4, 5:14, 8:3)
From the start, the church was counting heads and keeping records.
Membership identifies Christians with a local church family.
(Acts 20:30, 1 Cor 5:5, 1 John 2:19)
The Bible speaks in terms of “in and out.” There is no category in the New Testament for churchless Christians.
Membership is the embodiment and experience of biblical images.
The Bibles is filled with imagery for God’s people. A flock is not a random group of people, a household has identifiable members, and so on.
“The flock” (1 Pet 5:2), “Members of the household of God” (Eph 2:19), “The body is not one member, but many” (1 Cor 12:14)
Membership allows you to faithfully fulfill the “one another’s” of the New Testament.
It clarifies who you are to accept, be devoted to, confess sin to, etc.
There are 59 “one another’s” in the New Testament (Eph 4:2, Rom 12:10, James 5:16, Gal 5:26, Rom 15:7)
Membership is how you follow Christian leaders.
It helps you know which Christian leaders on planet Earth you are called to follow and call upon.
Membership enables church discipline.
“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private …” (Matt 18:15)
We need one another and we need the church to lovingly admonish us. Jesus asks “If any man has a 100 sheep and one of them has gone astray does he not leave the 99 … and go and search for the one that is straying?” Membership clarifies the precise accountability Jesus models and the world spurns.
Membership creates a community led by Christ for the unseen world to see.
The manifold wisdom of God is made known through the church …
“To the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Eph 3:10). This is incredible. When angels and demons look to the church, they see God’s wisdom. They are not confused about who belongs to God and how glorious God’s plan is.
A high view of membership protects the church.
“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29)
Paul spoke this to church elders. Savage wolves are still around today—in the church. Done rightly, the membership process and member shepherding allows leadership to identify threats, serious sin, and wolves. Churches with a low view of membership—no process or indifference about belonging—allow more room for significantly harmful sin and predators to move unchecked.
Can you think of any other reasons to join a church?