How Important Is Church Membership?
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
Question: "Why is church membership important?"
Answer: The universal Church—the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5)—is composed of all true believers in Christ, but there is nothing in the Bible about “membership” in a local church assembly. As believers, we have our names written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 20:12), which is the only “membership roll” spoken of in Scripture.
The New Testament churches apparently had no need of formal membership, relying instead on God to gather together believers in a local body. “And the Lord added to them day by day those that were being saved” (Acts 2:47). This verse indicates that salvation was a prerequisite for being “added” to the church. Churches today who require salvation before membership are simply following the biblical model. See also 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
Although there is no scriptural mandate for church membership, there is certainly nothing to prohibit it. Church membership is a way of officially identifying oneself with a local body of believers. Church membership is a statement that a Christian is in agreement with that local church and is willing to be identified as a representative of it. Church membership is also valuable for organizational purposes and a good way of determining who is allowed to vote on important church decisions and/or who is involved in official church positions and functions. Church membership is not required of Christians. It is simply a way of saying, "I am a Christian and I believe that Laurie Heights Baptist church is a good place for me to belong."