One of the most frequently asked questions relating to the topic of church membership is…
“Why should I join the church, anyway? After all, it makes no difference, I can still go to church and participate in all the activities without feeling tied down or committed.”
The last word in that quote is the first reason to join the church – Commitment
What Is Church Membership?
Church membership is a commitment to unite with an identifiable body of believers who have joined together geographically for specific Christ-ordained purposes. These purposes include:
- Receiving instruction from God’s Word – 1 Timothy 4:13 & 2 Timothy 4:2
- Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry – Ephesians 4:7-12
- Serving and edifying one another through the proper use of spiritual gifts – Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11
- Participating in the ordinances of baptism and communion – Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42
- Proclaiming the gospel to non-believers – Matthew 28:18-20
What Is The Requirement For Membership?
- A personal commitment of faith in Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation.
- A scriptural baptism by immersion as a testimony of salvation.
- A signed commitment of agreement with and willingness to abide by the Membership Covenant.
Why Commit To Membership?
We ask you to commit to membership for 4 reasons:
- A Biblical Reason: Although Scripture nowhere states, “Thou shalt join a church,” a biblical basis for church membership is found throughout the New Testament. This can be seen most clearly in (1) the example of the early church, (2) existence of church government, (3) the exercise of church discipline, and (4) the exhortation to mutual edification.
- A Cultural Reason: It is an antidote to our society. We live in an age where very few want to be committed to anything…a job…marriage… our country. Sadly, it is not uncommon for Christians to hop around from church to church, never submitting themselves to the care of elders and never committing themselves to a group of fellow believers. This attitude has produced “consumer religion.” Becoming a member is an unselfish decision. Commitment always builds character.
- A Practical Reason: It defines who can be counted on. Every team must have a roster. Every school must have an enrollment. Every business has a payroll. Every army has an enlistment. Even our country takes a census and requires voter registration. Membership identifies our family. We are not just after “numbers”; this will only result in a church where the people are spectators instead of active participants. Our goal is committed participation.
- A Personal Reason: It produces spiritual growth. The New Testament places a major emphasis on the need for Christians to be accountable to each other for spiritual growth. You cannot be accountable when you’re not committed to any specific church family.
What Are The Benefits Of Church Membership?
There are many obvious benefits to being a formal member of NWC.
- Accountability – there is the loving accountability that a body of believers provides. At times we all experience the propensity to drift spiritually, but God uses the care of the leaders and other members of the body to shepherd and restore us back to fellowship. In this way, the local church provides for each of us an umbrella of spiritual protection
- Service – the church provides the fitting context for believers to discover and use their spiritual gifts through serving and edifying other members. This, of course, also includes being served and edified in return
- Leadership Development – being a member provides the opportunity for members to pursue and serve in positions of leadership in the body, such as pastor, teacher, prophet, evangelist, small group leader, worship leader, etc.
- Membership Privileges – members are eligible to obtain various services from the church, including biblical counseling, weddings, funerals and financial assistance from the benevolence fund if needs arise.
What Are The Responsibilities Of Church Membership?
Living out the commitment that one makes as a member involves several responsibilities:
- Personal Purity – exemplified by living a Godly lifestyle in the community
- Relational Integrity – to pursue honorable and loving relationships: in the family among friends, coworkers, neighbors and in the body
- Organizational Loyalty – to contribute to the church your time, talent and treasure and to be responsible to the leadership God has established
- Interpersonal Maturity – to seek to exercise your spiritual gifts in faithful service to the body.