Submit to the church, don’t join the club
- Why is it significant to understand that Christians don’t really “join” churches so much as submit to them?
- What difference should church membership make in a Christian’s life?
- “Kingdom” is a very popular concept among Christians today. How does the kingdom relate to the local church?
- How should two Christians who belong to the same church relate to each other differently than two Christians who belong to different churches?
- What would you say to people who attend churches that don’t have formal membership? What about to pastors of churches that don’t have formal membership?
I found the answer to the last question especially intriguing, not that I am acquainted with churches who don’t have formal membership. But I do know of professing believers who don’t see the need for formal membership. They are the perpetual “regular attenders.” From Leeman’s answer, there are at least three reasons for formalized church membership:
(1) every Christian needs to know which other Christians he or she is specifically responsible for; (2) every Christian needs to know which church leaders he or she needs to submit to (Heb 13:17; 1 Pet 5:5); (3) every church leader needs to know which Christians he will give an account for (Heb 13:17; 1 Pet 5:2). When you show up at your weekly gathering, and when you disperse throughout the week, who is the “we” of Christ’s body for whom you are responsible? Don’t just say you’re responsible for all the kids in your neighborhood. What kids has God made you responsible for?