Church membership is an idea we see in scripture and has been a part of the church from the very beginning of the church in the book of Acts. This article answers a few questions regarding church membership in hopes that we can explain what church membership is all about and why it is incorporated as a part of Victory Aiea.
What is church membership?
Church membership is the establishment of the relationship between pastors of the church and the people who agree to submit to their leadership.
Who is church membership for?
The church was designed by God for christians. Church membership is for christians. Many would struggle with this statement in that they would say that the church exists for those far from Christ. By saying that church membership is for christians by no means reduces the importance of sharing the love of Christ with those who are far from Him. As christians our main objective is to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Our hope is to make disciples adding people to the church. Our mandate is to pray for and disciple those who don’t know Jesus so that they might join us in the church. To join us in fellowship, worship, and listening to the preached word.
Why is church membership important?
1. Church membership is biblical.
17 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. Hebrews 13:17
This text brings 2 ideas to us. The verse begins with “your leaders” This suggests that there is a defined relationship between church leaders and those who submit to them. The second idea that we see here is that pastors “will have to give an account” One day when we are all dead pastor will face God for the souls of those who are in the church.
Here are a few additional examples of church membership in the bible.
In Acts 2:37-47, we see that there is a numerical record of those who have professed Christ and been filled with the Holy Spirit (v. 41) and an acknowledgement that the church was tracking the growth (v. 47).
In Acts 6:1-6, we see elections take place in order to address a specific problem and accusation.
In Romans 16:1-16, we see what appears to be an awareness of who is a church member.
2. Church membership serves discipleship.
The one thing that we do at Victory Aiea is make disciples. Church membership helps create relationships between believers that promote believers encouraging and confronting one another as we walk out our faith daily. Additionally membership helps us define what a christian is. Real christians love people because Jesus loved us. As members we respond to the gospel by pointing those far from Jesus to Jesus.
3. Church membership provides clarity for members.
Our culture is full of false gospels. Church membership provides both members and elders the opportunity to evaluate our salvations to see if the gospel is truly bearing fruit. Additionally church membership brings clarity to members regarding what is expected of them. Members attending Victory Aiea can be sure that all that is expected of them is outlined and described in our church covenant.
4. Church membership creates culture of unity in church.
Members who care for and exhibit love for one another is how God designed us to live. (John 13:35) As we define who is in the church we also define who we should love as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Though many of us come from different backgrounds we are united by the love and sacrifice of Christ. This understanding should create a response in us to love one another well.