“For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body –whether Jew or Greeks,
Slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
1 Corinthians 12:13
When an individual is saved, he or she becomes a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). In other words, he or she becomes a part of the universal church. Therefore, when an individual is united with Christ and the other members of the body in this way, he or she are qualified to become a member of a local expression of that body – the local church.
To become a member of a local church is to formally commit oneself to an identifiable, regional body of believers who have joined together for specific, God directed purposes. Some of these purposes include worshipping God together (Heb. 10:25; Col. 3:16) receiving instruction from God’s Word (1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2), serving and encouraging one another (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-31; 1 Pet. 4:10-11), participating in the Communion together (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42), and proclaiming the gospel to those who are lost (Matt. 28:18- 20). In addition, when one becomes a member of a local church, he or she submits himself or herself to the care and the authority of the biblically qualified spiritual leaders that God has placed in that assembly.
Although Scripture does not contain an explicit command to formally join a local church, the biblical foundation for church membership permeates the New Testament. This biblical basis can be seen most clearly in (1) the example of the early church, (2) the existence of church government, (3) the exercise of church discipline, and (4) the exhortation to mutual edification.
Living out a commitment to a local church involves many responsibilities: striving, with the Lord’s help, to live a life pleasing to Him in the world, using one’s gifts and talents for doing good in the church and our world, contributing financially to the work of the ministry, building significant relationships with other believers, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with others and faithfully participating in corporate worship. Much is expected, but much is at stake. For only when every believer is faithful to this kind of commitment is the church able to live up to her calling as Christ’s representative here on earth.
If you are interested in church membership, we would suggest the following:
1. Attend our worship service on a regular basis for some time.
2. Attend the classes of one of our Bible study groups.
3. Attend some of our social gatherings (dinners, conferences, etc.).
4. Take time to get to know and make friends with some of the people in our church.
5. Talk to the Pastor and our spiritual leaders and ask questions about what our core beliefs are and how we understand the mission of the church.
6. After a number of months of being with us or whenever you feel ready, make an appointment with Pastor Ken and talk to him about church membership. He will be glad to talk and pray with you about the matter.
7. Remember, church membership can not be considered until an individual has made a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ as his or her Savior and Lord and has participated in believer’s baptism.