0527church_membership 

Question:  I am attending a church in my community and enjoy the small congregation and the pastor’s preaching.  I know he loves and worships God and preaches God’s Word.  I support the church financially and take part in their Bible studies, outreach programs, etc.  Is it really necessary that I join this church?  This church is not the denomination in which I grew up and I have some different interpretations on theological issues, e.g. the rapture.  Just want your take on this

This question hits home for me because my husband and I attend and support three churches and are members of none.  One church does not offer membership (which is becoming increasingly popular these days).  Another church fits into the category mentioned above—a denomination with which my beliefs are not in total alignment (however, these are secondary doctrines and practices, not core doctrines of Christian faith).  The third is a church geographically far from where we live (we “attend” weekly online through their live stream).  

My home church is the one that does not offer formal membership, and yet the community of believers is committed in much the same way as members would be in a church that offers membership. The simplicity of church fellowship without membership has become increasingly popular over the last few decades.  There are some positive aspects to it, as well as some downsides to it.   

The Body of Christ vs. The Gathering Together of Saints

We must distinguish between the Church, as the body of Christ, and the church, as a gathering of believers.  Church (body of Christ) membership is a different type of membership and it is one that is given to us.  We became members of the body of Christ when Jesus saved us (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).  Entering into this membership isn’t something we do, it is a gift He has given us.  It is by His regeneration of us (1 Corinthians 12:13) that we become members of His Body, the Church.  

Membership in a local church (a gathering of believers) is something we do, and it is something that is instituted and defined in varying ways by church leaders.  We become members of churches when we understand their teachings and expectations, decide it is the group of believers that we want to fellowship with and make a commitment to them according to their requirements for membership.  Church membership can be a very good thing.  It fosters a commitment to a body of believers and encourages corporate unity and accountability.  Such unity and accountability are important, but unity can also be found in churches that do not have formal membership.

Is it necessary that I join a church?

The question being addressed here is about a church that does offer membership, but the person is uncertain whether they should join because of theological differences.

My personal understanding from Scripture is that church membership is not mandatory.  However, never forget that the Bible does command that we gather together corporately to worship, learn and fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ.  

The Bible clearly tells that we are not to neglect to gather together with other believers (Hebrews 10:24-25) so it is important to be committed to a fellowship of believers. This doesn’t necessarily mean membership.  Some will try to say that small group gatherings can meet the requirement of Hebrews 10:24, but a small group does not replace a church.  The Bible clearly defines the requirements for a church to be biblically sound, addressing the structure of leadership, teaching, and accountability.  While some small groups might offer leadership and sound teaching, very few offer the structure of leadership church that the Bible sets forth and most do not offer any type of accountability that includes church discipline, which is a biblical mandate

To Join or Not to Join?

Whether it is necessary for you to join this church that you are currently attending, supporting, and in which you serve, is a question that only you can answer.  Define what you mean by necessary.  Search the Scriptures and seek God’s direction through prayer for what He would have you do.  Perhaps you will decide that the theological differences are not something that will deter you from committing to membership and, if you believe this is God’s will for you, then you can join the church.  

Or, perhaps you will decide that the theological differences are a problem.  In some churches when one commits to membership one is also affirming his/her agreement with the doctrines the church teaches.  If any of the differences are in conflict with core Christian doctrines (Read: What is IVDAR? Or IVDARR?), then one should not consider membership.  

Regarding you specific circumstances, again, search the Scriptures (Timothy, Titus, and Philemon are helpful) and seek God’s will and guidance before making a decision.  Whatever you decided, remember it is important to be in fellowship with other believers in a church that meets the biblical criteria of what God wants His church to be.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…(Hebrews 10:24-25)

<*}}}><

If you do NOT know Jesus, click here.
###

***A Hidden Message in Psalm 23?***  

Hidden in the six verses of Psalm 23 are 11 names for Jesus.  Subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll send you The Names of God in Psalm 23 PDF that reveals all 11 names and Scripture verses of comfort and hope (link will be sent in your confirmation email).  SUBSCRIBE NOW

Please Share this Article on Social Media to Equip and Encourage Others

Be Ready Always...

to give a reason for the Hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15).  When you can’t share the gospel with your words, share it by leaving tracts that tell people about God's grace.

When leaving a tract, always be diligent to pray about the short gospel message. Pray that it be found by someone who is in need of Jesus’ saving grace, and pray that the person will have a tender heart and open ears to receive the gift Jesus desires to give them.  

By the power of the Holy Spirit, even a small tract can help in turning a broken sinner from darkness to light.

SHARE THE GOSPEL!

(click to read the messages)

Click the Image to Read the Messages on the Tracts

The Top Ten  in 2019

  1.  The Meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
  2. The Meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
  3. Is my TATTOO a sin?
  4. What do the 12 stones UNDER the JORDAN River mean? (Joshua 4)
  5. What Does It Mean to TASTE & SEE That God Is Good? (Psalm 34)
  6. Why Does the LGBT Use God’s Rainbow For Its Flag?
  7. CHARLIE BROWN Theology  
  8. Did The Wise Men Arrive 12 DAYS AFTER JESUS’ BIRTH? Or Was It Much Later?
  9. Where did OT Saints go at death? ABRAHAM'S BOSOM? Where was that?
  10. Is Leonard Cohen’s “HALLELUJAH” a Christian Song? 

More Popular Questions & Articles:
If BAPTIZED as an Infant, Do I Need to Be Baptized Again?
How was Jesus Like a Worm? What’s the CRIMSON (OR SCARLET) WORM? Psalm 22
Is Satan’s Real Name LUCIFER? Or Should We Call Him Satan?
What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS? And were they kings? 
Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
The Names of Jehovah hidden in Psalm 23! This will surprise you!
What Did Jesus Say About HEAVEN (and HELL)?
JESUS WEPT. Why? And…it’s not the shortest verse in the Bible!
Is There a Remez (HIDDEN MESSAGE ) in Revelation 7? Why is Dan Missing?
What Does it Mean to Be A CHILD OF GOD?
Why Is PRAYER Important?
Is It a Sin to Drink ALCOHOL?
Is SUICIDE an Unforgivable Sin?

Something ALL Christians must know:  IVDARR

Top Three Videos from Reasons for Hope* Jesus
Christian Version of Leonard Cohen's HALLELUJAH
Memorial Day BAGPIPES TRIBUTE: Amazing Grace
RISE AND SHINE and Give God the Glory, Glory!

*****************

All resources on this site © Reasons for Hope* Jesus --  click for Republication Permissions or contact hope@reasonsforhopeJesus.com

Please Share with Friends to Equip & Encourage Them

SubscribeNow!

Yes, send me answers to interesting and challenging questions about Jesus and the Bible.  Help me get equipped and be encouraged so I am empowered to know, live, and share my faith.  <*}}}><

 

Get equipped with knowledge!

Be encouraged in hope!

Live empowered with love! 

You have Successfully Subscribed!