The term "church membership" is not a Bible term. However, the concept definitely is biblical! Church membership is the mutual acceptance and commitment of the church body to the individual and the individual to the church body.
2013 Getting to Know Wooddale Seminars:
- January 19 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
- March 16 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
- May 18 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
- July 16 and 23 (two part class in the evening 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.)
- September 21 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
- November 16 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Reasons for Church Membership:
Identification with God's people. God's people have always been clearly identified even though the expression of identification has varied by culture and time. Though common in America, the idea of the "independent Christian" is totally alien to the New Testament. 1 Corinthians 12:20 states, "There are many members, but one body." Christ designed and instituted His church so that His people could be clearly identified with the church and be known as "the body of Christ." Membership helps to identify one with Christ's church in a particular place.
Increased effectiveness. Just as logs joined together burn much brighter than independent logs, so Christians gathered together can accomplish much more than as individuals. For example, the number of chaplains in each branch of the Armed Services is based on the membership of churches in denominations. Therefore, the presence of born-again chaplains is related to the number of Christians who join Bible-believing churches.
A sense of belonging. When one formally joins any group or organization, the sense of belonging is significantly heightened. It is no longer "their church," but "our church." Therefore, one feels more comfortable and readily expects and claims the benefits of belonging.
Acceptance of responsibility. To get the full benefits and joys of marriage, one must be committed to the obligations and responsibilities of marriage. In the same way, to enjoy the full benefits of the church, one must also accept the full responsibilities. The Christian becomes a player instead of a spectator. As a team member he or she accepts responsibility for the wins and losses of the team, while the spectator only observes.
Submission. In Ephesians 5:21 we are commanded to be submissive to one another. When believers have differences, they are to submit those differences to the rule of the church rather than the secular court (Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 6:1. When we get out of line in our beliefs or behavior, the church is responsible to discipline us for our benefit and the testimony of Christ (Titus 3:10; 1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2; Romans 16:17). Membership, therefore, declares our submission to the body of Christ and to the spiritual leadership of that body.
Legal function. To function as a church (non-profit organization) requires some kind of membership by state law. The first step in becoming a Member of Wooddale is to attend an informational meeting called "Getting to Know Wooddale."