Many people wonder why they should join a church. After all, isn’t the important thing that people have a personal relationship with Jesus? Isn’t the body of Christ greater than any one denomination? These are important questions, but they speak to only a part of what it means to be Christian. Becoming a member of a church encompasses so much more.
For one thing, Christians were never meant to live out their faith isolated from each other. They are called to look after each other in love. That’s what being part of the body of Christ is about – living and loving in community. Becoming a church member makes this a reality through commitment. Joining a church expresses a serious willingness and commitment to walk faithfully in the company of other believers with all the benefits and responsibilities that go with such a relationship.
One of the benefits of being a church member is accountability. Christians need other believers to help them grow, to support them, and to set them on the right path when they stray. These are acts of love, and being a committed member of a local church means submitting to the input of other members for improvement. Without the commitment membership brings, such input could be easily ignored.
Church membership also places a person into a relationship of love and responsibility with others. Though this responsibility may include accountability, it is also expressed through acts of service and compassion and the willingness for self-sacrifice. Church members are family members who practice self-giving and minister to the needs of each other.
Being a church member additionally means uniting with a group of other Christians to accomplish bigger things than any Christian could do alone. By giving financially, volunteering personally, and committing wholeheartedly to a shared vision, church members can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, bring lasting change to many lives outside the church. Along with sharing the gospel, a denominational church can be a dramatic means of transformation in society, locally and internationally.
Church membership has much to offer those who follow Christ. Becoming a member of a church is one of the first acts new Christians can do to align themselves with other believers. Trusting Christ personally with salvation becomes more meaningful when people truly commit themselves to following Christ and acting on that commitment.