What is Church Membership?
When an individual is saved, he or she becomes a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). Because they are united to Christ and the other members of the body in this way, they are qualified to become a member of a local expression of that body, such as Grace Baptist Church.
To become a member of a church is to formally commit oneself to an identifiable, local body of believers who have joined together for specific, divinely-ordained purposes. These purposes include receiving instruction from God’s Word (1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2), serving and edifying one another through the proper use of spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-31; 1 Pet. 4:10-11), participating in the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42), and proclaiming the Gospel to those who are lost (Matt. 28:18-20).
Additionally, when someone becomes a member of a church they submit themselves to the care and the authority of the biblically-qualified elders that God has placed in that assembly (Hebrews 13:17).
Benefits of Church Membership
- Church membership publicly identifies a person as a genuine believer (Eph. 2:19; Rom. 12:5).
- Church membership provides a spiritual family to support and encourage them in their walk with Christ (Gal.6:1-2; Heb. 10:24-25).
- Church membership gives believers a place to discover and use their gifts in ministry (1 Cor. 12:4-27).
- Church membership places believers under the spiritual care of godly leaders (Heb.13:17; Acts 20:28-29).
- Church membership gives believers the accountability they need to combat sin and grow in Christ (Eph. 5:21).
Responsibilities of Church Membership
The purpose of joining a church is not exclusively focused on your own spiritual benefit as outlined above. As in any relationship, church members also have a number of important responsibilities and expectations.
Attend Regularly – While we do not expect that church members will never miss a Sunday or be a part of every church function, we do expect that members will prioritize corporate worship with their church family (Hebrews 10:24-25; Acts 2:42). Church members are also expected to participate in church business and congregational matters throughout the year.
Pray Consistently – It is essential that the church be united in prayer, seeking God’s blessing on the work of the church and the Gospel’s impact in our community (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2).
Live Communally – There are many ways to develop relationships with others in the church. Whether you are involved in a ministry team, small group, Bible study, or other group we encourage you to develop close relationships with others at Grace so that you may encourage one another, pray for one another, build one another up, and hold one another accountable as followers of Christ.
Submit Humbly – Church members are called to submit to the church’s leadership and teaching. Hebrews 13:17 says “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
Preserve Unity – Jesus said “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). All believers are tasked with preserving the peace and unity of the body, overlooking offenses when appropriate (Proverbs 19:11), bearing with and forgiving one another (Colossians 3:12-14), and pursue biblical and God-honoring peacemaking when conflicts arise. Quarrelling, gossip, and divisiveness should not mark the life of the believer.
Give Generously – Our love for the Lord should manifest itself in every area of our lives, including how we make use of the finances He has entrusted to us. Members are to contribute, as the Lord directs, to the financial support of the church and its ministries (1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:7).
Serve Faithfully – Each of us has been given the ability and the command to serve the Lord in some capacity. Members are encouraged to find a place where they can serve at Grace and make use of their spiritual gifts for the good of others (Romans 12:1; Ephesians 4:11-13).
Pursue Holiness – The life of the Christian should be marked by an increase in Christlikeness and victory over sin. While we will never be free from sin on this side of eternity, we are called to fight sin and pursue Christ wholeheartedly in this life (Romans 12:2). Regular Bible reading, prayer, and worship should be made an ultimate priority.
Becoming a Member of Grace Baptist Church
We encourage every believer who considers Grace their church home to pursue church membership. The process of becoming a member at Grace is as follows:
- Participate in the All About Grace membership class.
- If you’d like to pursue membership after completing the class, fill out a Membership Application and submit a short questionnaire.
- We will set up a time for you to share your testimony of faith with a pair of elders, at which time they can get to know you better and encourage you in your spiritual life.
Note: For those who have not yet been baptized, we will hold a class on baptism with you and arrange a Sunday for you to follow Christ’s example of baptism.
- After completing personal interviews, the elders will recommend the approval of new members.
- Member candidates will be affirmed by current members, and new members will be welcomed and presented to the church body during a Sunday morning worship service.
After you become a member, the elders will follow up with you to see how you are connecting into the body and see how we can help you along the way (joining a small group, discovering your spiritual gifts, serving in a ministry, connecting with other believers, etc.)
If you would like to learn more about the importance, benefits, and expectations of church membership, check out the following resources: