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Why is church membership important?

Ever wondered why church membership is a big deal? It's not just about showing up on Sundays – it's about being part of something bigger, something where commitment and community go hand in hand. Join us as we dive into why being a member of a church isn't just a formality, but a meaningful step in your faith journey.

Not everyone who attends a church is a member of that church. Have you ever thought about that? Just because someone goes to a local church, that doesn’t mean they are truly a member of that church. The church is a people. Can you be a member of a church if you have never actually said, “I commit to this faith family. This is my church. I am committed to them and they are committed to me.” Unfortunately, many believers in Canada are not committed members of local churches. And sadly, many churches have no defined process of how to identify, affirm, and bring in believers into their congregation.

To commit to a local church is very counter-cultural. First, we live in an individualistic society. This means that we are more likely to think about our own individual freedoms, rights, and privileges, rather than the needs and interests of the body. Second, we live in a consumeristic society. This means we are more likely to view the church in terms of what it can provide for us and give to us, rather than how we can sacrificially give to and serve it. In God’s wisdom though, meaningful church membership cuts the legs from under both of these impulses.

The Bible doesn't directly talk about formal church membership, but it hints at it in some places. In Acts 2:47, it suggests that those who were saved were added to the church. This shows that being saved was important before joining the church. Acts 6:3 talks about the church in Jerusalem picking leaders, which suggests they were a group apart from others. So, the leaders were chosen from among the church members.

Church membership matters because it helps define what a pastor is responsible for. Hebrews 13:17 says pastors are accountable for those in their church. Without membership, there's no clear group for pastors to look after. Without membership, it's hard to know who's part of the church and who isn't.

Also, churches are nonprofit organizations that are exempt from income tax. In order to maintain their exemption, churches must comply with certain requirements, one of which is having a formal membership structure.

There are several reasons why having a formal membership structure is important for churches. First and foremost, it creates a clear legal distinction between those who belong to the church and those who do not. This is important because only members have voting rights within the church.

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