Becoming a Member
If you’ve decided to follow Jesus, you may wonder what your next step should be. We hope that you are continuing to grow in Christ by worshipping, belonging, and serving. But perhaps your next step is membership.
We want membership to be a meaningful commitment to you from our pastors and church family, just as you’ll want your membership to be a meaningful commitment to us.
Being a member is your way of saying, “I’m all in. You can count on me,” while it’s a pastor’s way of getting to know those they shepherd. It’s also the best way to tell Bible Center’s leaders, “Please remember me in your prayers, your counsel, your teaching, your accountability, and your godly example.”
About the Membership Class
Held a few times per year, taking a membership class is the first step toward church membership. Even if you have not yet decided on membership, come anyway! It is an easy way to learn the basics of the Christian faith and what Bible Center is all about.
What is a Membership Class
It’s a peek behind the curtain at our core beliefs, discipleship mission, gospel vision, strategic plan, core values, staff team, and ministry practices.
What will I experience?
We’ll answer your questions and get to know each other. It’s essentially a time for you to interact with our staff and others considering membership.
How will I benefit?
You’ll know the ins-and-outs of Bible Center Church. As questions arise later, you’ll have a clear path on where to find the answers. More importantly, others will benefit from your involvement.
Will I be "put on the spot" to join?
Not at all. We realize Bible Center Church isn’t for everyone and we are happy to be in a community with other gospel-centered churches. However, we will encourage everyone to find a church that fits them, to become a member, to plant deep roots, and to commit for a really, really long time. The good news is that—if you do decide to join our membership—you will have already completed the required class!
Interested in church membership? Curious about where to find it in the Bible? Consider the following…
Community always involves commitment.
(Genesis 17:1-14; Exodus 12:43-49; Deuteronomy 29:9-13; Matthew 4:18-22; 16:24; Luke 14:25-33; Hebrews 10:24-25)
This is true of our most sacred commitments, such as marriage, and of our supermarket and gas station memberships.
Thankfully, when Jesus came, He fulfilled the law. We’re no longer under the Old Covenant. However, Jesus didn’t do away with commitment. Commitment wasn’t lessened, but increased.
Church membership is more than attendance. It’s a formal relationship between a church and a Christian characterized by the church’s commitment to oversee a Christian’s discipleship and the Christian’s commitment to living out his or her discipleship in the care of the church.
In other words, a church family commits to helping a Christian with his or her discipleship journey, and that Christian commits to faithfully worship with, belong in, give to, and serve with that church.
Church membership is sometimes compared to a handshake between a Christian and a particular church. It says, “I’m not going anywhere. I’ve got your back in this mission, and I know you’ve got mine. We might not always agree on preferences and persuasions, but we agree on the core truths.”
Church membership is God’s strategy for making sure you receive proper care.
(Acts 4:32-37; Romans 16:1-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Timothy 5:3-16; James 2:14-17; 5:14)
The early church was marked by caring for one another. We see this care in the book of Acts as Christians were counted and lists were made.
Why church member lists? Because Paul didn’t want anyone to fall through the cracks.
We see an example of such a list (or roster) in Romans 16. Historians have found similar membership lists from the first 500 years of the church, from the medieval era, and the reformation era. It was only recently that membership has been ignored or discouraged.
Do the words “church membership” show up in Scripture? No, but neither does the word Trinity; however, it’s clearly taught from Genesis to Revelation. Words change through the centuries, but biblical principles don’t. And one of those principles is that God wants His people to commit, to join, to be all in at a local church. Though it isn’t explicitly taught in Scripture, it is certainly implicitly described.
Church membership is God’s strategy for making sure genuine believers are the ones teaching, leading, and voting in the church.
(Matthew 16:16-19; Acts 6:1-7; 20:28-31)
Think with me: How would first-century churchgoers know which leaders to choose without a recognized church membership? Should anyone be able to come into our church and be allowed to teach, lead, and vote? The church membership helps us make sure our members are born-again believers.
Church membership is God’s gift to protect our spiritual growth.
(Matthew 18:15-20; Galatians 6:1-10)
Jesus detailed the process of discipleship in Matthew 18, and Paul dives even deeper in Galatians 6.
Using the illustration (above) of membership being likened to a handshake… when one party starts to pull away spiritually, the other party lovingly seeks to pull them back to Jesus.
Church membership is God’s gift to pastors and shepherds to know the people for whom they will give an account.
(Acts 20:28; Titus 1:7; Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Peter 5:1-4)
Will God hold a particular pastor accountable for shepherding every Christian in a particular city, state, or nation? Certainly not. Membership helps pastors know who is in the flock and for whom he will be responsible.
Joining a local church is not just an idea someone came up with recently to ensure attendance on a Sunday morning. It’s a biblically defensible doctrine. The New Testament demonstrates that this membership is not merely in the universal church but is also comprised of belonging to and being in covenant with a local assembly of believers. God calls for believers to gather locally, administer ordinances, exercise authority of the keys of the kingdom, fulfill the ‘one another’ commands, hold one another accountable, and exercise church discipline. Thus, while church membership is not explicitly mentioned in numerous places throughout the New Testament, one can see that all of the items listed previously assume and demand that the Bible calls us to commit to local church membership. -Jeremy Kimble, Cedarville University
Ultimately, at Bible Center, we seek to live out this axiom, “The Church is not something you go to; it’s a family you belong to.“
Want to Learn More?
For a deeper look, see Pastor Matt’s 2019 sermon on “Why Church Membership?”