The church is Jesus’ idea. He died for his church (Ephesians 5:25); he is building his church (Matthew 16:18); and, therefore, he intimately identifies with it (Acts 9:4). As a result, at CBC we think church membership is very important.
Indeed, while the precise word “membership” is not in the Bible, the New Testament assumes that all Christians will be committed to particular gatherings of other Christians – local churches. The apostle Paul, for example, mentions a list of widows supported by one local church (1 Timothy 5:9-16); while he tells another local church to exclude someone from their number because they had brought shame on the name of Jesus by living so immorally (1 Corinthians 5); he then asks that same church to reinstate someone when ‘the majority’ reproved him (2 Corinthians 2:6). All of this language would imply that the church knew itself to be a clearly defined group.
Most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that church membership reminds us that the Christian life is not an individual pursuit, but a corporate one. Christians are saved individually, by faith, but they live out their faith together. Church membership allows Christians to humbly submit themselves to other believers. It permits other Christians to patiently warn others if someone starts to wander from God. Church membership also reminds Christians to pray for and disciple others. Church membership particularly helps church leaders, too, as it helps those, who are called to account for the local flock entrusted to them (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17), to know for whom they are primarily caring. Finally, church membership helps non-Christians to witness loving relationships through genuine commitments that cross ethnic and generational boundaries. Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
At CBC we welcome into membership anyone who demonstrates repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, displayed publically through baptism; and who is committed to being part of our church family, practically displayed by supporting our *documents*.
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