While the phrase, “church membership” is not in the Bible, the concept grounds the New Testament message and methods. Devoting yourself to a local church is essential for your soul and helpful for your congregation.
- We have sold an incomplete gospel if we advertise the potential of avoiding hell while giving permission to ignore the church.
- Many people falsely pit a relationship with Jesus against membership with a local church.
- You will never have a vibrant relationship with Jesus if you consistently claim you can’t stand His bride.
- Church membership is a method for Christians to communicate our responsibility for each other.
Biblical Example [Acts 6:1-7]
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists[a]arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.2 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables.3 Therefore, brothers,[b]pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.
7 And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
- The early church was completely aware of and responsible for those who belonged to them.
- The church was growing with different types of people each having different types of needs and gifts.
- As they experienced growing pains, leaders and servants came together to address the needs of those within the church.
- Within the New Testament, you never see one example of a Christian attempting to follow Jesus on his or her own.
- Extra References: Acts 1:4; 1:15; 2:38; 2:41; 4:4; 5:12; 8:3; 9:28; 11:26; 20:29-30; Rom. 12:10; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:2; 1 John 2:19.
- Refuse to stagger with an isolated attempt at Christianity for what it causes you and others to miss.
- Discipleship is not designed to work outside of the context of relationships.
- Decide to commit to this local church wholeheartedly or find another one that you can.
- Next Step: What is your next step towards the people of Rocky Creek?
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.