Church membership is not just a formality. It is not just a checking of a box. It is more than just putting your name on a list. It’s much more than what many think. Church members have the duty to imitate and submit to the leadership of the church, to regularly assemble with the church, and to love and serve their fellow members. These duties are the means by which we grow in godliness and help others grow in godliness as well.
Hebrews 13:7, 17 says, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God:whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves:for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief:for that is unprofitable for you.”
God has provided leaders in the church who are given the responsibility to look after your spiritual well-being. They are called to lead, guide, and feed the membership of the church. They are commissioned to take care of and do what is best for the spiritual growth of those under them. When we join the church we are committing ourselves to submit to the leadership that God has called to take care of us.
Hebrews 10:24-25 adds, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
The writer of Hebrews reminds us of our duty to assemble together with our fellow members to provoke them to love and to good works. The primary way to encourage your brothers or sisters to love and do good is to encourage them in person as we assemble together. To join a church means you commit yourself to the duty of showing up when the church assembles. This verse reminds us that our assembling is for the good of others and should not be neglected.
Romans 12:3-18 reminds us that church members have the duty to serve one another. “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you:bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
Paul says that God has assembled a diverse group of people in the church. Each has a role of service to play in the overall body. Each is important to the rest of the members and for the health of the body as a whole. Church members are not spectators or cheerleaders, they are servants to every other member.
I go through great pains to make sure that our members know these truths before they join. I want to make sure they fully understand what membership consists of. I emphasize their attendance, their submission, their supporting the work financially, and their serving the body of believers. Sadly, many agree and then fail to meet these duties. The result is the entire church suffers because of their negligence.
May we ask God to help us be what we are Biblically supposed to be as members of God’s church. The church needs every member being a real member.