The concept of membership is often misconstrued, misapplied, or disregarded altogether. In the Bible, the term “member” bears a closer resemblance to the medical term “member” rather than the commonly understood cultural definition. To illustrate, consider the unfortunate event of losing a finger or toe in an accident. On that fateful day, you experienced dismemberment, as a specific part of your body was separated. This terminology accurately describes the tragedy of being detached from the body. However, in Western culture today, it has become almost normal for Christians and churches to be separate. Lone Ranger Christians have become commonplace.
But why, then, do we emphasize membership? Regardless of how the culture perceives it or how Christians may misunderstand it, membership is not merely an opportunity to claim, “I’m part of a club.” Rather, it is a scriptural expression of covenantal connectedness to a local church. When we are born again, God incorporates us into His larger family. However, we are also called to actively engage in a covenant with a specific local body and live in community with fellow believers, willingly committing ourselves to uphold godly principles and standards.
Membership does not save us, but it provides an environment for our spiritual growth and maturity in Christ. If we profess to be Christians, why not also be members of His body? Not only should we be part of the body ourselves, but we should also be able to effectively communicate the value of membership to others.