I’d like to offer several reasons to join the church.
1. Biblical Precedent. While we don’t see membership ceremonies in the New Testament, the New Testament does speak of those “inside the church” and those “outside the church” (1 Corinthians 5). The context is not about physical location but about formal association. Likewise in Acts 5, when the judgement of God fell upon those who had lied to God, the result was that “no one else dared join them” (5:13). The word “join” indicates a formal commitment, a bonding. Clearly there were those who had formally bonded with a particular body of believers and were then “inside” the church.
2. Identity. By formally joining a church you are identifying yourself with a local body of Christ. You are saying that you stand by and support the work of a particular church. This does not mean this church is perfect and other churches are not good, it simply means you are prepared to identify yourself with the work of the Lord where you worship. This is not only significant for yourself, but significant for others who have also identified with the church body.
3. Accountability. No Christian should live his or her life in solitary confinement. One of the benefits of being part of the church is accountability. It means I can’t go off and do whatever I want, however I want and whenever I want. It means I have to think about others and even answer to others. Many people shy away from accountability, but without accountability we run a very high risk of wandering around spiritually or creating our own spirituality. We may have good intentions, but good intentions aren’t always enough to keep us on the straight and narrow.
4. Responsibility. The whole reason why the Lord talked about the church as the Body of Christ was to indicate that we all have various areas of responsibility and service. Certainly there are responsibilities that can be taken without formal membership, but when we become members we are taking on greater responsibility for the life, health and direction of the church. As members, we are responsible for electing our leaders in the church and making important directional decisions.
5. Commitment. When someone joins the church, it indicates a formal commitment. It means I’m going to stick with it even when the going gets rough. It doesn’t mean that a person can never change their commitment but it means that a person isn’t so loosely associated with a group that the first time something strange happens they are quick to leave the church. They are there for the long haul to see that the church does indeed function as it should.
A word of warning: Joining the church does not make you a Christian. A right relationship with God comes only through repentance and faith in Christ as your Saviour, not by church membership. You can have your name on the church membership roll but it is only when your name is written in the Book of Life that you can be assured of eternal life.
If you have made a commitment to Christ and if you are enjoying the fellowship and life and ministry of this local church, I encourage you to give church membership serious consideration. We would be glad to welcome you.