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9Marks Explained : A Letter From Mark Dever

How should a church do membership classes?

To an extent, that depends on the church’s context and what kind of expectations most people will have. Here are some questions that may be more or less relevant to you depending on what kind of a situation you’re in.

  1. Do people generally assume that it is a good and normal thing for a Christian to be a member of a church? Or are they suspicious of church membership? If the latter is the case in your area, it may be a good idea to teach about the biblical idea of church membership and explain the importance of membership in a local church.
  2. Do Christians in your culture generally understand that being a Christian means making a commitment to publicly live according to God’s Word and having certain responsibilities toward one’s fellow Christians, particularly if they are members of your church? If not, then you may have to highlight the responsibilities of church membership.

That said, it is a good idea for all churches to explain to prospective members what the church believes and how it expects its members to live. It can also be helpful to explain the nuts and bolts of the church to prospective members: how is the church structured? Who are its leaders? How does the church make decisions? What are some ways to get involved in the church? Explaining these things will help orient prospective members and help them decide whether or not they want to join.