What difference does it make if I join the church, as long as I attend regularly and support its programs?
A reality must be faced: God designed the church for his people, and his expectation is that we will desire to comply and to benefit from his gesture. It is true that once a person is saved, he or she automatically becomes a member of the universal church. So why talk about local church membership? Because we think it furthers God’s greater glory in two arenas: the arena of the world and arena of believers.
God’s glory is displayed in and to the world as the world watches the church community. We are being observed as individuals, but also the church is being observed in the way it functions and contributes to the extended outer community.
An individual cannot be the “holy temple in the Lord” all by him or herself. An individual cannot display Christ’s life-changing power to transform a person if there are no other people around!
Further, we would never be able to effectively minister to the world if we all "did our own thing” without any organization. Common biblical images like “the body” assume a group setting for this very reason. Jesus said that people would know that the Father had sent him when Christians became perfectly one. That involves commitment to one another--to people we know, and who are local to us.
However, God’s glory is at stake among believers, too. God intends for the church as a whole to embrace individual believers that they may walk with in holiness. (Heb. 3:12-14)
- In the local church, God gathers all of the spiritual gifts and distributes them to all types of people, who then apply them in uplifting other Christians in their personal walks.
- The local church offers psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, testimonies and the reading of Scripture to deepen the individual’s worship and communication with God.
- The local church administers the impactful ordinances of baptism and communion and is itself the “pillar and buttress of truth.” (1 Tim. 3:15)
- The shepherding ministry of godly leadership helps us resist our sin natures while upholding righteous standards in the body. (1 Cor. 5:9-13)
While it is arguable that some of the local church’s dynamics may be augmented within the universal church, as through Bible studies or parachurch ministries, the local church is still the central core. We need the local church to persevere. When that happens, we individuals are blessed, and God is honored.
The early church seemed to be adept at clearly determining who was established in the congregation. We are persuaded that membership most effectively does this today, by identifying the shepherds and the flock to one another. Consequently, we encourage formal commitment to the local church.
In making this commitment, a Christian maximizes the benefit to him/herself. It ensures involvement in God’s great, transcendent plan to make for Himself a new people wo will one day inhabit a New Heaven and a New Earth filled with His glory.
To begin the process of church membership, please complete our membership application, and return it to an elder, pastor or to the church office. An elder will follow up with you shortly after to discuss further your desire for membership. You can download the application here.