It is often said, “I don’t have to be a member of a church to be a Christian” or “I don’t have to go to church to be saved. I can worship God at home in my heart.” While this may be true to a point, the church plays an important role in the life of a believer, and the Bible does give us a clear mandate for membership.
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:22-25)
Why do you need the church?
- It keeps you from defecting from the faith (Heb. 3:12; Heb. 10:23-25)
- It holds you accountable(1 Cor. 12:12-18; 2 Peter 3:17-18; Heb. 13:17)
- It reminds you of your responsibility (1 Thes. 5:8; Heb. 3:14)
- It provides support when you need it (Rom. 12:10-15; 2 Cor. 1:3-4)
- It encourages you to stay on the right track (Eph. 5:15-16;1 Thes. 5:21)
What does your church family give you?
- God’s purpose to live for -mission (1 Cor. 3:9-15)
- God’s people to live with -membership (Eph. 4:25; 1Cor. 12:18)
- God’s principles to live by -maturity (Eph. 4:11-16; James 1:19)
- God’s profession to live out -ministry (2 Tim. 4:5; 1 Cor. 15:58)
- God’s power to live on -magnify (Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 2:4-5)
Qualifications for Membership
- Be Born Again
The first step is to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died for your sins and rose again from the dead. You must be willing to confess that you are a sinner unable to save yourself and that only Jesus can save you. You must also be willing to turn from your sinful ways and commit your life to Him. Once you have received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, God forgives your sins and imparts to you His own nature and Spirit. You are born into His family, possessing both spiritual and eternal life. (John 3:3, 16-17; Rom. 10:9-10,13)
- Be Water Baptized
Jesus established baptism as a sacrament of the Church by both His example as well as by His command. Baptism is an external sign of an internal change. It marks the entrance of a believer into the Church as a member of the body of Christ. There are three symbolic acts seen in water baptism. First there is the symbol of cleansing from sin. Water baptism does not remove sin, but it does show to all that your life has been cleansed from sin by your confession of faith in Jesus Christ. A believer follows Christ in water baptism because they have been forgiven of their sin. This obedient act confesses openly to all that you have been forgiven of your sin and that you now confess Jesus Christ as Lord. Second, water baptism is a symbol of freedom from the consequences of sin. Water baptism is a perfect visualization of death, burial and resurrection. Spiritually it symbolizes that you are dead to sin. Third, water baptism symbolizes new life in Jesus Christ. Through water baptism we are united with Christ in His death and resurrection. (Matt. 3:13, 28:19; Rom. 6:4-7; 1 John 1:9)
- Comply with Church Guidelines & Policies:
- Regular Attendance (Acts 2:46-47; Heb. 10:25)
The Bible teaches us that it is important for the Body to come together on a regular basis. This is a time for celebrating our Lord, receiving instruction and mutual edification. We need each other in order to be transformed into the image of Christ. Your spiritual growth will depend on your faithful attendance in the place of worship. Also your ministry to other members of the fellowship necessitates your presence when the church comes together. Faithfulness in attendance is a mandate of the Word and a requirement of the fellowship to which you have been called.
- Tithing (Gen. 14:20; Lev. 27:30-32; Mal. 3:10; Matt. 6:21)
The word tithe means “a tenth.” Abraham was the first person to give a tithe in the Old Testament. The Bible tells us that the tithe belongs to the Lord, not the church. Of course God does not need the money, but He knows that tithing is a measure of our spiritual condition. The Bible says where our treasure is there will our heart be also. Tithing teaches us the principle of first fruits. Whenever the children of Israel brought the first fruits to the Lord they were reminded that God is to be first in their lives. It is the same for us today. The Old Testament teaches that tithing was commanded of God, and the New Testament also teaches that tithing should continue. In Matt. 23:23 Jesus affirmed that the Pharisees should not neglect tithing. Furthermore in Mark 12:41-44 we see Jesus in the Temple watching how much was being given. Jesus told His disciples that the rich gave out of their surplus, (that is after the bills were paid etc.) but the poor widow gave her all. The motivation for giving ought to be love for God. We should give cheerfully as an act of worship to the Lord. As you prepare for membership in this assembly, we want you to experience the blessing of being obedient to His word. Put God first in all areas of your life including your finances and watch Him bless you that you won’t have room to contain it.
- Using your Gifts and Talents (Ps. 100:2; Matt. 25:14-30; Rom.12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:1, 27; Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Tim. 4:14a)
Each individual has been given gifts by the Holy Spirit to use as servants of the Lord. There are several principles that govern the use of these gifts. The first principle is that every believer has at least one spiritual gift to offer to the Body of Christ. Second, joy and fulfillment will come as you exercise the gifts God has given to you. Third, each gift is designed to perfect the Body of Christ. The fourth principle is that God wants us to understand our gifts and their proper use. God also wants us to use or talents (natural capacities) for His glory. Christ intends for every member to be active in His Body. The Body grows and is edified as each part does its share.