Is Church Membership Necessary? (Ep. 175)

July 2, 2024

Most churches in America have at least some form of church membership. But here’s the question we want to ask and it’s a little bit loaded: Do you take church membership as seriously as you should? The obvious, easy answer is, “No”, but it’s worth actually thinking about. How well do you understand why church membership exists? What is its purpose? What does Jesus Christ desire to accomplish by it? And from the answers to those questions: How should we change the way we think about it and practice it so that we please our Lord and Savior?

In this episode we want to deal with the shape and substance of church membership. Why is it biblical when we don’t explicitly see it in the early church? And why do the Reformed generally insist on associating it with a covenant? From there we want to talk about what the church does in the world, how it is the light and salt of the earth as well as Christ’s body and how church membership both allows and accentuates those aspects of the church, but also how without it, it hinders the ministry of the church.

Church membership may seems like a small thing, but in many ways, it is like the skeletal system of the church, with the people being parts of muscles and organs, and the bones, ligaments and tendons joining them together so that real work can be done and so that protection is offered to the many delicate members of the body. Without church membership, the body becomes this shapeless thing, full of the same potential but unable to move or to achieve its purposes. There’s more to of it course, and God uses more than just the analogy of a body. He also compares the church to a building, to a sheep fold, to a legislative body, to a city, and to other things as well. But in each of these examples, membership is a key part of that arrangement, and it is more than just belonging. Membership lets us know our place in God’s world, and that is a very important thing all by itself. It’s a shame to the church that we think so little of it. Please join us as we discuss this very important topic.

Listen to the audio version here:

00:00:00 Relational Commitment
00:08:10 Acknowledging Authority
00:11:46 Why Membership is Necessary
00:27:42 Parts of the Body
00:34:51 Identifying the Flock
00:39:47 Protection
00:54:20 Parts of the Body
01:19:19 Hurt People

Production of Reformation Baptist Church of Youngsville, NC
Hosts – Dan Horn, Jonathan Sides, Charles Churchill and Joshua Horn
Technical Director – Timothy Kaiser
Theme Music – Gabriel Hudelson

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