Baptized into the Body
A Series on Church Membership
Let us say first and foremost that when we talk about “church membership,” we are talking about really joining a church: officially pledging to worship with a congregation, to serve alongside brothers and sisters in a local setting, and to be accountable to the brethren. Now, some folks may say that there is nothing “official” about church membership in the New Testament. Yet, I would respond by saying that the concept of membership was assumed in the early church. Everyone belonged to a local assembly during the age of the apostles.
For example, when we were baptized, we were united with Christ (Gal 3:27, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ”), but we were also immersed into the universal church (1 Cor 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body . . . and have all been made to drink into one Spirit”). When we became Christians, we became church members. Now, how is that reality played out in our lives? It is fully realized when we join in the life of a local congregation: worship, service, support, evangelism, etc.
For the next several weeks in these articles we will continue to discuss the importance of church membership, both in obedience to the Lord and for the good of each and every believer. This series will be helpful for all of us, whether we are already members or not. To take that initial step to join, we should know what we are getting ourselves into. We should know the reason for membership and the importance of it. Likewise, if we are already members, it is appropriate to get a clearer picture of what the Lord expects of us and how we can be a better member of the body of Christ.