Why do we highlight the importance of church membership at Trinity Baptist Church? Some people might object to church membership by pointing to the fact that the New Testament never overtly teaches church membership. However, many aspects of church life that the New Testament describes would be difficult, if not impossible, unless believers formally and voluntarily joined their names as belonging to a particular local church.
To put it succinctly, membership is about . . .
- Commitment – It is a way of saying: “I’m in.” Membership means that we care enough about each other to formally promise that we will care for them and they for us, and that we will be with each other when the church gathers. “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26).
- Accountability – It’s a way of saying, “I’m open.” It is a way of opening our lives up to others, and saying: “I’m letting you into my life. If I’m veering off the path, you not only have permission to warn me: you must. And I will do the same for you.” “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
- Shepherding – It’s a way of saying, “I belong.” The Bible tells pastors to feed, lead, and protect the flock of God. This implies at a bare minimum that we must know who is in our flock. But we can’t know whether someone is a member of the flock unless they formally agree to be. “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17).
- Participation – It’s a way of saying, “I’m involved.” Members have the privilege to participate in the decisions of the church by voting—including the approval of budget and other business items in official church business meetings. We also require that people who teach Sunday classes, serve as deacons, and function in other ways be members.