1. WE ARE TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER:
The Bible commands believers to be of one mind, one accord, and to love, be kind, serve, submit, encourage, and pray for one another! It is one thing to attend a church, but it is quite another to be committed to a local church of Believers. It is difficult to obey the “being unified” and the “one another” Scriptures, when we are not committed to “one another” through Church Membership. Church Membership gives people a formal way of saying, “I am committed to this local Body of Believers and the vision God has given to this local church.”
(See Phil 2:1-4, Rom 15:5-6, 1 Cor 1:10, Gal 5:13, Eph 4:32, 5:21, Heb 10:25, James 5:16)
2. JESUS EXPECTS YOU TO:
Jesus, the Head of the Church, the Chief Shepherd, calls and equips men and women to be His undershepherds (Pastors) and to oversee specific flocks of people.
When a person is born again, he or she becomes part of the Body of Christ,
and a member of the universal Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The universal
is comprised of all of God’s children, regardless of age, race, or denomination.
Jesus Christ is the Chief Shepherd (Pastor) of the universal Church.
Jesus, the Chief Pastor, has established local churches and called individuals to serve as local Pastors. Local Pastors are to oversee a geographic area of believers who come together for worship, teaching, and ministry. Jesus said a good shepherd is responsible to “know” his sheep. Jesus said a good shepherd knows his sheep by name. In fact, Jesus tells the story of one Shepherd who left the ninety-nine sheep (notice the sheep were counted) and went out looking for that lost sheep. Without some type of membership, how would a Pastor know his sheep, their names, or who was missing? Jesus expects you to be counted as a member of a local “flock”! (See Eph 4:11-12, 1 Pet 5:1-4, Acts 20:28, Jn 10:1-5, Matt 9:36, Lk 15:4-6)
3. WE ARE CALLED MEMBERS:
We can draw a parallel between God’s emphasis on “ye are the (universal) Body of Christ and members in particular,” and “ye are the (local) Body of Christ and members in particular.” If God felt that membership in the universal church was important, would it be any less important on a local level? (See 1 Cor 12:12, 14, 20, 27)
4. IT IS GOD’S ORIGINAL PLAN:
We see many references in the Early Church which describe a tangible, committed membership which people could join, and where people were counted.
The New Testament teaches that, as Christians, we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together on a regular basis. We see the early church in the book of Acts meeting together on a regular basis. We see a church of devoted Believers who were counted. We see Peter and John, after being persecuted, returned to their “own company” (that is, to their own local church). We also see that for one reason or another, certain people did not want to “join” the local church. (See Acts 1:14-15, 2:41-42, 4:4, 23; 5:13-14, Heb 10:24)
5. GOD SPEAKS TO CHURCHES:
Jesus said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Notice, Jesus did not say, “What the Spirit saith to the isolated Christian.” Notice the word “churches” is plural, denoting local churches! God’s plan for the Body of Christ was revealed then and continues to be revealed now, through His Word and by His Spirit, to those whom He has delegated authority. That is, revelation for the Body of Christ comes to those God has called to lead His Church.
On the other hand, each believer has the responsibility through their own personal relationship with God, to receive the revelation they need from God and His Word for their own personal lives. However, when it comes to God’s plan in the earth and in His church, God is revealing this to those whom He has called to lead the Body of Christ. Church Membership helps you to stay in the flow of what the “Spirit is saying to the churches.” (See Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22)
6. GOD PROVIDES SPIRITUAL SAFETY:
There is spiritual safety when you sit under a God-called, Jesus-appointed and Holy Spirit anointed Pastor. It is a Pastor’s job to “feed and lead” the flock of God into rich pasture and safety! (See Eph 4:11-16, Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5)
7. THE CHURCH IS LIKE AN ARMY:
By definition, an army is “men & women organized and disciplined for battle.” Can you imagine an army of soldiers without some type of formal membership? What would an army or an individual soldier be like without any formal commitment to the military? In the same way, there must be some type of formal organization and commitment for a church, the army of God, to function to its greatest potential. (See 2 Tim 2:3-4, Phil 2:25)
8. THE NEW TESTAMENT IS WRITTEN TO LOCAL CHURCHES:
The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the New Testament to write letters to local churches where believers gathered, i.e., letters to the Philippians, Galatians, Ephesians, and so on. Apparently, the Holy Spirit knew that letters to local churches would provide the best avenue to disseminate the information He wanted individual Believers to have. The Holy Spirit must have known that the majority of the Christian world were members in their particular churches and would therefore receive His message. (See New Testament)
9. GOD DOES NOT AUTHOR CHAOS:
While some disdain the need for organized Christianity, the New Testament says that Christians should worship together “decently and in an organized way.” Some Christians are against anything that is organized, but if we look at the nature of God Himself, we will see that He is a God of perfect order and precision. Church membership is a simple way for a local church to operate decently and in an organized way. We have yet to see a ministry flourish without some type of organization and structure. We have yet to see an individual Christian bear much spiritual fruit that is lasting without some type of commitment, organization, or structure in their service to the Lord. (See 1 Cor. 14:33, 40)
10. GOD IS NOT IMPRESSED BY LONE RANGER MAVERICKS:
God has never favored independent, rebellious, proud, maverick-spirited people who were unwilling to submit to others in the Body of Christ. God has given explicit instructions to “mark and avoid, reject, and expel” those who persist in causing divisions, spreading false doctrine or who persist in unrepentant, flagrant sin. Generally, it is the “lone ranger” or those who rebel against God’s delegated authorities who cause this type of trouble. How would a local church “expel” a person from a church to which he or she never belonged? (See Rom 16:17-18, 1 Cor 9-13, 2 Th 3:6, 2 Tim 3:5-6, Ti 3:10, 2 Jn 10)
Also see "How To Find a Church Home"...