Pastor, Why? #5: Why Should I Formally Join a Local Church?

 

The local church is the most important organization on earth. The church is the only institution founded by Christ and to which He promised that the gates of hell could not stop its advance (Matthew 16:18). The apostles spent their entire lives establishing local churches, beginning at Jerusalem, then Antioch, and all across the eastern world (Acts 2:47; 11:19-26; 13:1f, 15:41; 16:5). Everywhere Paul journeyed he left behind a local church. Seventeen of the twenty-seven New Testament books were actually letters sent to local churches.


Something so important to Jesus and His apostles should certainly be important to their followers.


The church is the only Biblical training ground and base camp ordained by God to prepare the saints for carrying out Christ’s “Great Commission” of world evangelism and discipleship (Acts 13; Ephesians 4:11-16). Something so important to Christ and the apostles, should certainly be important to their followers. A local church ought to be the most essential of all organizations to the Christian. It is worthy of our service, time, loyalty, financial support, and certainly our membership.

 

The local churches in the Bible had a defined membership. In Acts 6:5 describes the selection of the first assistant church leaders as being a church-wide decision. “And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen... and Philip, and Prochorus....” A church board or the pastor alone did not make the appointments. How might hundreds of people in that setting choose their representatives? In ancient Greek and Roman assemblies popular vote was as common as in our society. It is safe to say that the multitude voted in some manner. In fact, we have a good clue to exactly how they voted from Acts 14:23, “And when they had ordained them elders in every church....” The Greek word translated “ordained,” [keirotoneo], actually means to vote by raising the hand [Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance]. The practice and privilege of voting in any organization requires a clearly defined membership. Biblical church discipline also requires standards and criteria for membership, since even unsaved people were and are allowed to attend church services (1 Corinthians 5:1-5; 14:23; 2 Corinthians 2:6).

 

A clearly defined church membership safeguards the church. It is not only Biblical, but wise. Choosing teachers and leaders only from those who share our beliefs and have committed themselves and their loyalty to our “team” is necessary to maintain the unity and consistency of the doctrines and directions of the church. Selecting our children’s workers only from our membership is also a practical step in the screening process that helps to protect our young people from harm.

Church membership provides huge benefits for its members. Joining a local church places the believer within God’s spiritual chain of command and inside His “hedge” of protection. He becomes part of a family and a flock that is guarded and guided by the prayers and care of a “shepherd” and fellow-believers (Hebrews 13:17; Acts 20:28-29). A church family provides support and accountability for victorious godly living among its members (Galatians 6:1-2; 2 Corinthians 2:6-8). The church is also to be a safety net for genuinely needy members and others in the body of Christ (1 Timothy 5:3-16; Romans 15:26; Acts 6:1-7).

Every Christian ought to join the membership of a local church in order to most effectively further the cause of Christ. When a member relocates, they should immediately seek another church of similar belief and practice to which they can formally commit themselves, and in which they can faithfully serve and continue to grow.

The Biblical requirements for FIBC church membership are…

   Salvation through dependence on Christ alone           [Acts 2:47]

   Biblical baptism (by immersion after salvation)        [Acts 2:41, 47]

   Agreement with our core doctrinal beliefs                    [Amos 3:3]

   A life in harmony with our Church Covenant                [1 Corinthians 5]

The steps to become a member of FIBC:

   Read our Doctrinal Statement and Church Covenant.                

                - Are you in agreement with our church’s core convictions?

              - Are you living in harmony with our church’s code of conduct?

   Meet with the pastor to share your salvation story and to ask any questions you might have.

   Share your salvation testimony with the church at any regular church service.

   Be baptized, if not already.

 

Will you consider making FIBC your own local church family? Let the pastor or another member know of your interest today.

 

You can learn much more about the Doctrine of the Church and how

you fit in from a free self-study Bible lesson available from the pastor.