Church Membership – Why Bother?
Some people think of the idea of church membership as antiquated, restrictive, country-clubish, etc. And while we must be careful not to make it an end, an idol or a vain tradition, there truly are some solid reasons for having and teaching church membership. Here is a snapshot of why we emphasize membership at Eagle Heights.
Membership is an expression of our value: “Committed Community – sharing life as a family in Christ.” Membership is important because commitment to Jesus is important. After all, Jesus was the most committed person who ever walked the face of the earth. Paul, inspired by the Spirit, tells us that Jesus loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25). For God’s glory, Jesus committed to us His life, death and resurrection; we should want to be committed to Him. Simply stated, we believe membership is commitment to Christ, but it is also a commitment to His body in a local and visible way – by commitment to a local church.
Ask yourself these questions: “Can a person be committed to Christ and not be committed to His body? Can a person love Jesus and not love the church (the body) He died for?”
Now ask yourself this question: “How does a person show they are committed to the body of Christ?”
We believe membership in a local church is a first step toward answering this question.
Membership in a local church is not a club due or initiation. Instead, church membership is a public declaration by which a person makes known to other believers that they are in Christ and committed to Christ, but also committed to the body of Jesus in a visible way.
Membership then helps people have a sense of ownership for something that is bigger than themselves. When a person makes public their intent to work with people for a God-sized purpose, that commitment provides for them motivation to plug in and stay engaged. When rightly understood, membership is an expression of desired accountability.
Local church membership also helps the Elders (pastors) and congregation in practical ways:
- Membership makes it possible for the Elder(s) to identify who it is they will give an account for (Hebrews 13:17). Who should the Elder shepherd? Those who are a part of their local flock. How do they know who is a part of their local flock? Membership by baptism or profession.
- Membership makes it possible for the Elder(s) to know their people in a personal way. An Elder can’t care for people they don’t know. Membership is a way by which a person can make it known that they desire the accountability of biblical leadership.
- Membership helps the Elders communicate the expectations of the people of Eagle Heights. When an Elder meets with a prospective member, the Elder can share more thoroughly about who we are and what we are trying to do. The prospective member also has the opportunity to ask questions of the Elder.