English Español 简体中文
9Marks Explained : A Letter From Mark Dever

Is Church Membership Biblical?

“The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.”

— Cyprian, Treatise on the Unity of the Church, 6.

I was 28 when I became the pastor of Highland Village First Baptist Church (now known as The Village Church). I had had a rough go early on in my church experience, and at that time I was not fully out of my “disenchanted with the local church” phase.

In all honesty, I wasn’t sure at the time that church membership was biblical. Despite that, the Spirit had made it all too clear that I was going to be pastoring this small church in the suburbs of Dallas. That was one of the many ironies of my life in those days.

Highland Village First Baptist Church was a “seeker-sensitive” church in the Willow Creek mold and had no formal membership process, although they were actively working on one and wanted the new pastor’s input. I had a strong understanding of the church universal but wasn’t well versed—and, as I said, somewhat skeptical—about the church local. We started growing quickly with young and oftentimes disenchanted 20-somethings who usually had no church background, or bad church backgrounds. They liked The Village because we were “different.” This always struck me as strange because we weren’t doing anything but preaching and singing.

In conversations with these men and women I began to hear things like “The church is corrupt; it’s just about money and a pastor’s ego,” or “I love Jesus, it’s the church I have a problem with.” My favorite one was, “When you organize the church it loses its power.” Although something occasionally resonated in me with these comments (I, along with most of my generation, have authority and commitment issues), I found them confusing since they were being made to me by people who were attending the church where I was the pastor.

TWO QUESTIONS FROM HEBREWS 13:17

With conflicts already brewing over other doctrines that I viewed as far more central, I wondered if we should let this church membership thing slide and come back to it later. I was preparing at the time to preach through the book of Hebrews and “happened” to be in chapter 13 when verse 17 leapt off the page: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

Two questions occurred to me. First, if there is no biblical requirement to belong a local church, then which leaders should an individual Christian obey and submit to? Second, and more personally, who will I as a pastor give an account for?

These two questions started my search for a biblical understanding of the local church, and they began around the ideas of authority and submission.

Regarding the first question, the Scriptures clearly command Christians to submit to and honor an elder body (Heb. 13:17, 1 Tim. 5:17). If there is no understanding of local church membership, then who are we to submit to and obey? Is it anyone with the title “elder” from any church? Should you as a Christian obey and submit to those loons at Westboro Baptist? In order to obey Scripture, must you picket soldiers’ funerals, as the pastor of Westboro seems to imply?

Regarding the second question, the Scriptures clearly command an elder body to care for specific people (1 Pet. 5:1-5; also, Acts 20:29-30). Will I as a pastor be held accountable for all the Christians in the Dallas Metroplex? There are many churches in Dallas that I have strong theological and philosophical differences with. Will I give account for what they teach in their small group, how they spend their money, and what they do concerning international missions?

WHAT ABOUT CHURCH DISCIPLINE?

After considering questions of authority and submission, the second issue that came up in my study of the local church was the biblical teaching on church discipline.

You see it in several places, but none so clearly as 1 Corinthians 5:1-12. In this text Paul confronts the church in Corinth for approving of a man walking in blatant, unrepentant sexual immorality. The Corinthians are celebrating this as God’s grace, but Paul warns them that this type of wickedness shouldn’t make them boast, but rather mourn. He calls them arrogant and tells them to remove this man for the destruction of his flesh and the hopeful salvation of his soul. In verses 11-12, he pulls no punches: “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?”

It has been my sad experience that very few churches still practice church discipline, but that’s another article for another day. My question out of this text is simple: How can you kick someone “out” if there isn’t an “in”? If there is no local commitment to a covenant community of faith, then how do you remove someone from that community of faith? Church discipline won’t work if local church membership doesn’t exist.

LOTS OF OTHER EVIDENCE FOR MEMBERSHIP

There are other evidences to support local church membership in the Scriptures.

We see in Acts 2:37-47 that there is a numerical record of those who have professed Christ and been filled with the Holy Spirit (v. 41) and an acknowledgement that the church was tracking the growth (v. 47).

In Acts 6:1-6, we see elections take place in order to address a specific problem and accusation.

In Romans 16:1-16, we see what appears to be an awareness of who is a church member.

In 1 Timothy 5:3-16, we see a clear teaching on how to handle widows in the church and in verses 9-13 we read this:

Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work. But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.

In this text we see criteria for who would or would not qualify for Ephesus’s widow care program. The local church in Ephesus is organized, and they are working out a plan.

We could go on and on here, asking questions about how we could be obedient to the commands of God in 1 Corinthians 12 or Romans 12 if we aren’t connected to a local covenant community of faith. But to unpack all the possible texts would require longer than I have for this article.

GOD’S PLAN IS THAT WE WOULD BELONG TO LOCAL CHURCHES

When you begin to look at these texts it becomes clear that God’s plan for his church is that we would belong to a local covenant community of faith. This is for our own protection and maturation, and for the good of others.

If you view church as some sort of ecclesiological buffet, then you severely limit the likelihood of your growing into maturity. Growth into godliness can hurt. For instance, as I interact with others in my own local body, my own slothfulness in zeal is exposed, as is my lack of patience, my prayerlessness, and my hesitancy to associate with the lowly (Rom. 12:11-16). Yet this interaction also gives me the opportunity to be lovingly confronted by brothers and sisters who are in the trenches with me, as well as a safe place to confess and repent.  But when church is just a place you attend without ever joining, like an ecclesiological buffet, you just might consider whether you’re always leaving whenever your heart begins to be exposed by the Spirit, and the real work is beginning to happen.

What’s the bottom line? Local church membership is a question of biblical obedience, not personal preference.

Matt Chandler is the lead pastor of the Village Church in the Dallas, Texas area.

May/June2011
© 9Marks

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format, provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 1,000 physical copies. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be explicitly approved by 9Marks.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: © 9Marks. Website: www.9Marks.org. Email: info@9marks.org. Toll Free: (888) 543-1030.

Topics: Membership

Comments   |   RSS Subscribe

One of the most treacherous problems for homes in the Hamilton area is ice damming, which can cause considerable damage
to your roof, attic and eventually your living areas if not treated properly.

Spend some time figuring out how much firewood you use during the year and then pick a firewood shed plan that will adequately protect that amount of wood.
For the environmentally conscious people, there are eco friendly variants as well.

Oh it is great that you agree with this. I know that its hard to belive on this but u did and wrote a good post.

hello

fdnaifdedb3 The ostrich buckskin finances screams beauty, ルイヴィトン モノグラム ルイヴィトン 財布 ルイヴィトン 財布 ルイヴィトン モノグラム ルイヴィトン バッグ 新作 2013,type and it is considerably more pricey ルイヴィトン バッグ http://www.tnt-polk.com/ ルイヴィトン 財布,as a result of difficult along with time intensive getting brownish naturally procedures. ミネトンカ ブーツ 2013 新作 ミネトンカ ブーツ 2013 新作 ミネトンカ モカシン easilyamusing ミネトンカ モカシン,Other options to help cow leather ミネトンカ minnetonka http://www.easilyamusing.com/ ミネトンカ minnetonka,consist of exotic leathers including crocodile leather-based accessories, ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド 財布 新作 ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド アウトレット ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド 財布 ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド 財布 新作,stingray leather-based wallets and handbags and even shark ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド 財布 http://www.audiocentergt.com/ ヴィヴィアンウエストウッド 財布,skin and also lizard skin area wallets. レッドウィング 875 レッドウィング 875 レッドウィング ポストマン RED WING エンジニア レッドウィング 875,If you are choosing a budget regarding as a surprise, フェリージ バッグ メンズ フェリージ アウトレット フェリージ 財布 メンズ ksiegarnia online フェリージ アウトレット,remember to think it over as well as go with the particular レッドウィング ベックマン http://www.ipodtouchconverterguide.com/ RED WING エンジニア,wallet with all the style.
Challenging an individual claim? イルビゾンテ 財布 新作 イルビゾンテ 財布 新作 イルビゾンテ バッグ イルビゾンテ 財布 イルビゾンテ 財布,Well We didn't assume crocodile Dundee for being taking something other than a new crochet finances could you? マックスマーラ ダウン マックスマーラ ダウン マックスマーラ ダウン ウィークエンド forumtrabzon マックスマーラ ダウン,Do you possess an enthusiastic angler within the loved ones? フェリージ 財布 メンズ www.ksiegarnia-online.info フェリージ felisi,Consider any shark skin billfold, イルビゾンテ 財布 新作 http://www.identityeffects.com/ イルビゾンテ 財布,shark leather is usually very good more powerful in comparison with cow leather-based マックスマーラ アウトレット www.forumtrabzon.org マックスマーラ アウトレット,and would likely last a lifetime.

Matt, there is no scriptural basis for what you are advocating here in this post. There is no scriptural basis for church membership - None. You have quoted a few scripture verses which does not allude to becoming a member of any physical institution. You have misquoted those scriptures. For those who are reading this post - I want you to check for yourselves - everywhere in the New Testament where the word members are mentioned and see for yourself who it is referring to - every where the word church is mentioned in the bible see who or what those verses of scriptures are referring to. Men for many years have been as Jesus said in the gospels - Teaching for commandments the doctrines of men. There are many things happening in the local 'churches' today which are teaching as commandments the doctrines of men - not what God Himself has said or commanded in His Word.

Search the scripture for yourself fellow-believers - don't take mines or another persons word for it. Prayerfully and earnestly - Search the scriptures for yourself.

slrehqjoadg ligvvpzvb fzhyfltr フェリージ felisi フェリージ アウトレット フェリージ 財布 メンズ uinudiozrxj uwvrydaim lxuyrxxe フェリージ バッグ フェリージ 財布 メンズ フェリージ アウトレット hyqnqtrutbg debzynmso gyphibcx フェリージ アウトレット www.ksiegarnia-online.info jbkjodxdybo jsnhrljsq xrizawri lnlajoyecdr pkypanfcu frjovqea イルビゾンテ 財布 イルビゾンテ 財布 イルビゾンテ バッグ ncmoefuurfg jfftbahmg zmwxlrps イルビゾンテ 財布 新作 イルビゾンテ 財布 イルビゾンテ アウトレット gfuefvbeokx mwcfsiefe lhugkqus イルビゾンテ 財布 新作 http://www.identityeffects.com/ bjrvslhbgli cgsjiaxyx atdfvost jfjmqrpkntm hlszsfamw bcnlzftq MAX MARA マックスマーラ 店舗 MAX MARA マックスマーラ 店舗 マックスマーラ コート 2013 otnhryjbsod klojxjxoh rmawptdq マックスマーラ ダウン MAX MARA マックスマーラ 店舗 マックスマーラ ダウン ウィークエンド qagajgfucgl govtegjin drefyyrr マックスマーラ ダウン http://www.forumtrabzon.org/ fozieemipea eohiimesg pewtxyvv lotegtlywow zvnfkqbze kusvvwqs DUVETICA ダウン デュベティカ 2014 レディース デュベティカ ダウン メンズ ekebbwezjsw einpfmzwr boufzdca デュベティカ ダウン デュベティカ 2014 デュベティカ ダウン メンズ asjisxjjdla ulgbdssjr mecdwypj DUVETICA ダウン http://www.stellaaccessories.com/ mnfupolkkke ffebuoonb ezkepiay

Pretty component of content. I just stumbled upon your
blog and in accession capital to say that I get actually enjoyed account your weblog posts.
Any way I will be subscribing for your feeds or even I success
you get entry to persistently rapidly.

It’s ѕure that professional SEO serviceѕ can raisse your website ranking on Google aѕ well
as other search engines and avail you great payоuts beyond your expectations.

Your activities should not be restricted to promoting уour products.
If you think getting your busіnеss onto the Internet
is enough tо rake in the moolаh, you are wrong.

you're in reality a just right webmaster. The web site loading pace is amazing.
It sort of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick.
In addition, The contents are masterwork. you have performed a magnificent process on this matter!

Surfar pa online casino , borde du ta hänsyn till det faktum att ni letar efter det kasino därborta ni vill serva stĺlar . Oavsett , alltsa , hur massor ni uppskattar grafiken samt hur ljudlig upp bonus frestande en näringsverksamhet . Det här är saken där grundläggande principen som bör bistĺnd dig fran inledning frĺn sökandet , tillsammans tidens gang , ty ni inneha molnfritt definierade förväntningar förut kasinot i dina mĺl .

Ni lirar därför att tjäna stĺlar , sa tänk pa dina styrkor samt företa ett lista ovan dom tre matcher sĺsom ni befinner sig sann gott presp4b1rl1k . Kom fast än ihag , att tillata möjligheten att teori sig nya spelet . Exempelvis , ifall du är förträfflig pa blackjack , borde ni hitta ett [url=http://prespa-birlik.se]casino[/url] som erbjuder flertal versioner utav spelet . Förut varje fundamental versionen frĺn spelet kommer ni om en stund att bli uttrakad och snabbt anträda söka variation . Ifall du gillar att gestalta blackjack , känner till du möjligtvis att det finns ĺtskilliga varianter av det här parti - Spanish21 , Blackjack Switch , European Blackjack , Pontoon och mer . Ju fler versioner tillgängliga pa kasinot , desto mer spänning ! Vetande försĺvitt reglerna allmän casinospel är icke simpel , emellertid, samt närvarande kommer du med service bruten online- portaler lockton - du hittar de där pa dom annorlunda sorterna itu spel och enskilda för-och nackdelar .

Om du har säkert dig va du diggar att agera , kolla nagra kasinon samt eftergranska mängden betalningen ( utbetalning ) förut de spelet ni har valt . Professionella kasinon förmedla information om utbetalning priser och andelen frĺn eventuella vinster pro var lockton [url=http://prespa-birlik.se]casino online[/url]. Försĺvitt kasinot inte tillhandahalla sadan fakta pa webbplatsen , bör ni bestĺ aktsam . Alla seriösa tester organisationer förbinder sig förut parti näringsverksamhet att tillhandahalla och jämnt uppgradera varenda fakta ifall dom utbetalade beloppen .

Ett annan viktig omständighet utbredd valet itu kasinots mjukvara . Enastĺende programvara skall verka raskt och effektivt . Före ni sätter in kapital pa ditt konto pa kasinot , maste du bestĺ säker pa att inte ett dyft kommer att barrikadera dej inom spel . Somliga kasinon erbjuder möjligheten att agera medel lockton och game utan att uppfatta - det visar opp tydliga stadgar samt mottaglighet i organisationen . Glöm ej att ocksa avsyna den tillgängliga statistiken pa kasinot samt marker .

Ehuru bonuserbjudanden samt kampanjer är nĺgon rikligt central vinkel för alla casino , bör ni föresla mot dom bara efter att tillverka kontrollerat samtliga spelet och mjukvara . Slapp inte förleda briljant välkomstbonus - desto större belöning , desto svarare är det minsann klart - sa befinner sig det ständigt värt att studera villkoren för erbjudandet . Allihopa kasinon erbjuder ett rad annorlunda kampanjer , men märka förmĺn pa insättningar . Inom bästa nedgĺng , erbjuder casino dej nĺgon förmĺn pa nagra betalningar . Nya inom online casino industrin växer jackpottar tillsammans sensationella priser . Dom majoriteten av dom befinner sig osjälvständighet pa kasinot , ändock fran ett mjukvaruföretag , sa ni har ett möjlighet att separation nĺgon jackpot pa flera kasinon . Mer information kan hittas pa de tilltagande jackpots spel portaler - beslutet att välja kasinot är evigt lättare efter att tillverka läst recensioner som finns pa nätet pa skilda kasinon .

The company appeared to be created with 1964. When it appeared to be founded its name was Glowing blue Ribbon Sports activities.クラークス ブーツ レディース クラークス ブーツ クラークス アウトレット,ナイキ スニーカー レディース NIKE スニーカー ナイキ スニーカー レディース,レッドウィング アウトレット レッドウィング ブーツ レッドウィング エンジニア,ホーキンス ブーツ ホーキンス ブーツ ホーキンス ブーツ, Following a short period of time the corporation evolved into Coleman after a dream about the Greek Goddess of triumph by that label. A little while and then the company unveiled the actual swoosh being a company symbol. クラークス ブーツ クラークス ブーツ レディース クラークス ブーツ メンズ,ナイキ スニーカー ナイキ スニーカー NIKE スニーカー,レッドウィング アウトレット レッドウィング エンジニア レッドウィング エンジニア,ホーキンス ブーツ レディース ホーキンス キッズ ホーキンス キッズ,There are many shoes for athletics that someone may select during this period. Someone can choose 1 due to a sport they play or perhaps for vogue. A top-notch pick for someone that has basketball would be the Coleman basketball shoes.
There are numerous shoes and boots for athletics that will someone may pick here. www.onlinequinigol.com クラークス ブーツ レディース,www.belgiumvacationsonline.com ナイキ パーカー,www.messianicondemand.com レッドウィング アウトレット,www.johnmotleyinc.com ホーキンス ブーツ レディース,Someone can choose a single caused by a game they play or merely for vogue. A high pick for somebody that has basketball would be the Nike pas cher basketball shoes and boots.

I don't reject church membership but this entails I become a pope and decide that one church is better than another and thus I should be that denomination.

This is not what the historic church has taught.

Below is a link by a protestant seminary professor on ecclesiology I think he makes some valid points, points which caused me to be unable top join a church an eventuallyd convert to Orthodoxy from reformed.

http://danielbwallace.com/2012/03/18/the-problem-with-protestant-ecclesiology/

I was arguing with our very good Sunday School Teacher about that he should begin on time and end on time. He usually went, very unconcerned, over time into Service time. Also, very on concerned, to start late after people were already prepared.

His reply was, 'were is it in the Bible you need to start and finish on time?"

It is not unreasonable to mistrust an institutional authority. An institution exists for itself and an institutional leader will never be a father to you. They will always choose the institution over you. They will always work to have you serve the institution instead of sacrificially serving you and yours. Their mind will contain a vision for the institution, their focus will be on it, and their hearts will belong to it.
What we long for is family. We long to be loved, known, and cared for as ‘dear children’, as Brothers and Sisters, placed into our Father’s family by His will, on our way to immortality.
We seek and long for leadership that carries spiritual parentage at its heart, where those who are older and wiser, more mature in Christ, more dead to their flesh, more sensitive and alive to the Spirit, who bear the commission of Christ to love and shepherd those of us who God has put under them as 'dear children', labor for Christ to be formed more fully in each of us. Leaders that, like parents of earthly children, have a vision of who we will be at the First Resurrection and how through each Saint, they are influencing eternity.
We all want to be known and loved and cared for and instructed and led, but by father figures, not by a cold and impersonal institution and the professionals that inhabit it.
It is threatening and even insulting to move from being a family, with the almost automatic sense of belonging that goes with it, to being an institution that demands devotion. It feels like a ‘bait and switch’, a betrayal, though it is difficult for many to say exactly why. Formal membership changes the vision of many churches from spiritual family fellowship to something more stiff, rigid, and impersonal.
We need Spirit led fathers that hear from God, not religious professionals who demand a ‘contract’ before they can ‘love’ you.
Chuck

It's an rеmarkable post for all the online users; they will tаke bеnefit from it I
am suгe.

“Authority has no meaning without formal membership”- pish posh. This is like saying parents don’t have authority over their children unless they have some kind of covenantal agreement signed by the children. Authority is from God. Membership affects it not at all. Nor does having the title of ‘Pastor’ for that matter. Membership is leverage, however, but leverage is very different from Godly authority.
“Discipline is impossible without membership”- pish posh. Tell this to all the non membership churches out there that practice discipline and expel the unrepentant immoral. The weight of discipline is in relationship, not in losing a ‘membership’ card.
“Pastors don’t know who to serve without membership”- pish posh. Membership solves none of the resource issues of pastoral care. Pastoring is a supernatural Spirit led vocation… you will need to walk in the Spirit to know how and when to serve those God has given you to oversee. Members will not be worthy of your time and non-members will rest heavy on your heart (and vice versa).
“God wants us to know who is in and who is out”- pish posh. Membership is a man made distinction in the Body of Christ. You don’t actually know who is in and who is out, only God knows that. You can be a ‘member’ without being saved and you can be saved without being a ‘member’, so it is meaningless. Who are we to say that someone is ‘out’ that God has placed ‘in’ His family?
“We need membership to keep out error and disruptive influences”- pish posh. Membership doesn’t do this. If an aberrant figure appears among you, you are still going to have to confront them and possibly expel them, probably long before ‘membership’ is entertained.
“Church membership helps make the gospel clear to non-Christians by providing a unified witness of what it means to be a Christian.”- pish posh. Would this be Baptist membership or Church of Christ membership? Catholic or Presbyterian? Membership does not bring nor guarantee unity. Formal membership brings conformity through social leverage, something that is not related to the Gospel at all.
“We can take God's glory and gospel to the nations better if we band together than if we remain alone.”- Absolutely… but membership doesn’t do this ‘banding together’. The unifying force for the Saints is our faith, our hope, and our love for our Savior. Ironically, formal membership has proven to be a divisive force, corrupting this bond of love and weakening unity everywhere it is debated.
Chuck

As Christians, we are admonished not to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is” (Heb. 10:25). Yet, in our own day, cultural individualism has spilled over into the churches, producing an unhealthy atmosphere of religious independency among those professing Christ. The duty to join in public worship is often treated casually, and church attendance is regarded as a merely optional matter.

When a professing Christian spurns corporate worship, he gives reason to question the state of his heart. Those who truly love God will exclaim with the psalmist, “I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord’” (Psalm 122:1).

Moreover, the Christian’s obligations reach beyond simple attendance upon the public ordinances. The scriptures set forth numerous responsibilities of believers which can only be fulfilled within the context of the corporate body: pray for one another, exhort one another, share one another’s burdens, etc (James 5:15; Heb. 3:13; Gal. 6:2; 1 Thess. 5:11). Often, we meet with professing Christians who wish to remain detached from any particular congregation. But if they dwell permanently in isolation, how can they fulfill their scriptural duties?

The Bible also delineates lines of authority within Christian congregations. “We beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake” (1 Thess. 5:12-13). “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch over your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Heb. 13:17).

These passages describe the proper submission of church members to ecclesiastical officers. Members are not subjugated to officers as unto tyrants. The officers of the church rule not for private commodity, nor of personal authority, “neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock” (1 Pet. 5:3). Church members are obligated to render submission as subjects in the kingdom of Christ.

Once we discern the duty of church membership, the issue becomes a question of which church to join. In the present era of religious confusion, there are myriads of assemblies in existence, all claiming to be true churches of the Lord Jesus Christ.

These facts lead us to consider the office of the believer. Christians have the obligation to submit to the government of Christ; but they also have the responsibility to refuse the claims of men who usurp the authority of Christ. “The sheep follow him [Christ]: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” (John 10:4-5).

Again, all legitimate religious authority is derived from Christ; thus, the true believer should not heed the authority of any ecclesiastical government which is not subject to Christ’s word.

I am a student at Illinois State University in Normal, IL, a leader in Campus Crusade for Christ there and a member at Charis Community Church (its an A29 Church). I have been trying to work out how to lead and encourage students involved in Cru to be involved in and become members in a local Church. I’ve had a not so encouraging experience with another Church in town where I felt pressured to quit Cru and completely focus my ministry on the Church. It was really hard for me, but I decided to leave the Church and ended up joining Charis. With that discouraging experience I really feel the Lord burdening my heart to help lead others in finding a good balance between serving in Cru and in Church. I’ve been seeking wisdom on this from Cru staff and some elders in my Church, and I thought that you might have some wisdom to offer with your experience in leading your Church.
Thanks
- Brock

Hey Brock - I've been working with Cru for the past few years thinking through this very question! If you search the site, there are some great articles on church and para-church, one specifically on Families and Soccer Teams. In short, we all should be part of a family, but we can join a soccer team for a specific purpose (ie Cru). Cru is not meant to be a substitute for the church. If anything, it's a place where Christians committed to different local churches come together for the specific purpose of reaching their campus with the Gospel. Feel free to reach out to me to discuss further

Cooper

I wonder if Ephesus had a scroll with their church member's names on it?

This is silly. The epistles were written to the leaders and believers who gathered in a particular place. Formal church membership in the manner we have it today did not exist. It's simply a doctrine derived from faulty implications from the Scriptures. Pastor Chandler comes to false conclusions when asking his two questions. Submission to leaders, or the leader's accountability for the sheep under their care, does not require a formal list of church members. The people attending the church should submit to the leaders of the church, and the leaders are accountable for those who are submitting to their leadership and who are regularly gathered there. Does Pastor Chandler mean to say that he is not accountable for someone who has attended his church for 25 years but has not formally added his name to a "membership list"? Will he say, "wait a minute, that guy wasn't on my list!" when it comes to giving an account? When the apostle Paul wrote to the churches, he was not referring to church directories.

This post is nothing but an example of reading your current cultural situation back into Scripture, pure and simple.

A.N. Martin

Actually, A.N. Martin, it is you -- living in an age of cohabitation, commitment-phobia, suspicion of authorities, antinomianism -- who is reading your cultural implications into scripture. The Lord Jesus said that when lawlessness (i.e. antinomianism) increases, love will grow cold. Our current aversion to formal membership -- a relatively recent development in church history -- is a product of our cultural and produces not more love but less. The rejection of formal church membership is another expression of the same impulse that we call "cohabitation" (i.e. "shacking up") when applied to marriage.

To Mr. Martin. I am curious------are you the A.N. Martin who pastored at Trinity Baptist Church for many years?

Isn't membership taken care of by entrance into Zoe life, when the Spirit of God seals you?

Isn't fellowship with the brothers and sisters of your area commanded?

If we are members of one another like Ephesians says how can another membership supersede this?

If
• we are already members of one another by the unity of the spirit who dwells in us - and
• we are commanded to not forsake the gathering of ourselves together - and
• there are elders appointed to minister to the body and equip it for the work of evangelizing the lost
then
• what more is needed?

The ones who are appointed by God (not man) are given spiritual office and authority according to that office by God (not man) to instruct, reprove and discipline. God Himself is the one who is the power of their word. God 'has their back'. They do not need a naturalized/in the flesh membership to exercise their authority. They already have authority over the ones who are actual members of Christ because God has given it to them; for there is no authority except that which is given by God. If this applies to the natural world and it's governments, how much more to the Kingdom of God?

If a member of Christ does not fellowship, they are self inflicting the discipline they need. The sexually immoral man from Corinth was disciplined by cutting off fellowship and by the working of the Spirit in that mans life to bring repentance. If a brother is already not in fellowship, do you think that the Spirit is lacking in His work? They have received discipline.

The reason that some leaders promote membership is to shift the responsibility off. To answer my earlier question "what more is needed?" is the unity of leadership. We need to cast off denominations and be one body of Christ each in it's region, with the leadership of one mind, in subjection to the mind of Christ. This will eliminate the idea that membership will fix these problems. The leadership needs to 'lead' the already members of Christ in unity by becoming one in themselves.

With to be honest, if you tend do training distributor
numerous plans, main difference means that this latter is not an option.
True religion jeans thoroughly release the original character.
Getting engaged to the love of your life calls in the need to
look around for the best engagement and wedding rings.

I see no Biblical precedent for formal church membership in a local church, but I don't see how this means that there is no authority.

When I attend a church I submit myself to the pastor and the elders. I see them as God's delegated authority in my life, and have no intention of being rebellious (not that I don't ever have that sin problem). I expect church discipline if I need it, the duty of brothers in Christ is to rebuke and reprove.

I find myself agreeing with Mark McIntyre on his points, and leaning more towards elder-led churches as opposed to congregationalism.

I think the line of who a preacher has authority over is just the simple one of who is attending his church, maybe who is taking communion in his church.

By doing the work kind of part time and make decent money from it.
Does the recurrent freezing of the Xbox 360 spoils your gaming experience.
The other attractive feature that might be an integral part of Microsoft TV via Xbox 360 is you can actually avail yourself with
the capabilities of Kinect. When you start out sharing the fascinating the
no video error facts below, your pals will be absolutely amazed.
By doing this trick, the red ring of death will disappear and you'll
be able to have your console doing work in as little as 30 minutes.

With all respect to fellow brothers and sisters, when we view the the Church through the lens of institutionalized church, then we will always make errors. The first century believers gathered together and celebrated the liberty and freedom they had in Jesus because religion also met its death on the Cross. Hebrews is all about this. The apostles always fought the Old Covenant teachings from entering again into the Church. Jesus ushered in a New Covenant that can't be poured into old wineskins. We are ALL equal, no other covering but Jesus. The verses used above are out of context with the New Covenant and are being used with an Old Covenant mindset. You're pouring old wine into new wineskins. It won't work, which is why institutional church is losing "members" and small gatherings of believers are gathering together in homes. Also, the "pastor" is not a position. It's mentioned only once and then it's "pastors". Again, you're taking it out of the context of the whole Book.

church membership

Thanks for this post!

Church membership is vitally important. At my church Ambassador Baptist in Fresno we encourage folks to join. It allows them opportunities to receive counseling, and experience expositional Bible preaching

Chandler's article touches on a subject that independent churches seem to struggle with (based on my experience with them), that of "requiring" belonging when the independent body does not "belong" in a structural sense (e.g., belonging to a denomination). His reasoning is sound and his conclusions from the Scripture valid. The Bible does assume that people be "members" of a local community--I know that this label is anachronistic, but I use it for the sake of continuity--otherwise, Paul's commands to love "one another" or to be "devoted to one another" are rendered null. The NT's assumption is that Christians are connected to a body in some fashion.

However, I would have liked for Chandler to discuss the theological connection between the membership universal and the membership local. In other words, while Paul's commands point to a connection between members, I doubt that this connection is due to some "membership" class that each has completed to be a part of the Roman or Corinthian congregation. Each is a member of the other regardless of where they are. It is the Spirit that "makes one a member" of the church.

Yet another aspect of the discussion that Chandler neglects is the function of the sacraments for membership determination. In other words, both baptism and the eucharist were significant events in the Christian experience in the NT. Only Christians were allowed to participate in these, and only after they had been through an intensive "training" process. After they had undergone vigorous training (in some cases YEARS!), then they were confirmed by the leadership and allowed to participate in corporate Christian experience. Only Christians that had fulfilled these requirements were allowed to become members. And fulfilling these sacraments SIGNIFIED that you were a Christian. Perhaps if our membership meant something more than putting our names on a roll, then we might have congregants be more willing to submit to such a process.

Chandler's article touches on a subject that independent churches seem to struggle with (based on my experience with them), that of "requiring" belonging when the independent body does not "belong" in a structural sense (e.g., belonging to a denomination). His reasoning is sound and his conclusions from the Scripture valid. The Bible does assume that people be "members" of a local community--I know that this label is anachronistic, but I use it for the sake of continuity--otherwise, Paul's commands to love "one another" or to be "devoted to one another" are rendered null. The NT's assumption is that Christians are connected to a body in some fashion.

However, I would have liked for Chandler to discuss the theological connection between the membership universal and the membership local. In other words, while Paul's commands point to a connection between members, I doubt that this connection is due to some "membership" class that each has completed to be a part of the Roman or Corinthian congregation. Each is a member of the other regardless of where they are. It is the Spirit that "makes one a member" of the church.

Yet another aspect of the discussion that Chandler neglects is the function of the sacraments for membership determination. In other words, both baptism and the eucharist were significant events in the Christian experience in the NT. Only Christians were allowed to participate in these, and only after they had been through an intensive "training" process. After they had undergone vigorous training (in some cases YEARS!), then they were confirmed by the leadership and allowed to participate in corporate Christian experience. Only Christians that had fulfilled these requirements were allowed to become members. And fulfilling these sacraments SIGNIFIED that you were a Christian. Perhaps if our membership meant something more than putting our names on a roll, then we might have congregants be more willing to submit to such a process.

I love that you say this:

Both baptism and the eucharist were significant events in the Christian experience in the NT. Only Christians were allowed to participate in these, and only after they had been through an intensive "training" process. After they had undergone vigorous training (in some cases YEARS!), then they were confirmed by the leadership and allowed to participate in corporate Christian experience.

This is still the way it is done in the Catholic church!!! People interested in becoming members have to go through an 8-9 month process called RCIA (Right of Christian Initiation for Adults). They learn the intimate details of Catholicism to decide if they truly believe. You have to go through the class, and once completed you are baptized (unless you were already baptized in a Protestant church in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then that baptism counts), you receive your first Communion (Eucharist), and are Confirmed at the Easter Vigil service. It is a very in-depth process!

This is very different from the way I was raised in the Baptist church, where they simply have an "alter call", and anyone can become a member at any time. Is this good? Are they sure that he or she understands the doctrines and will represent themselves as a "Baptist" properly?

You make a very good point!

This was written "Pastor/Leader = exercise authority = lord it over = abuse = always" and I will disagree. I think the "always" at the end needs to be replaced with "most of the time" as I have been a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church over 10 years and have NEVER seen this! We have a plurality of elders to prevent the pastor from becoming the dictator.

Today, I went to the beachfront with my children.
I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year
old daughter and said "You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear." She put the shell to
her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her
ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

PaulWitt - Seems to me “Spiritual Abuse” is rampant today in the
501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax deductible, Religious $ Corporations most today call “church.”

How about if a definition of “Abuse” is given?

1- treat (a person or an animal) with cruelty or violence.

In this case, often, the “Abused” defends the “Abuser.” Yes?
But many times “Abuse” is subtle, not noticed until pointed out. If the “Abuse” is subtle, is constant,
over a long period of time, passed on from one generation to another, people don’t know it as “Abuse.”

Abuse also means…
2 – use (something) to bad effect, misuse. Hmmm? Bad effect? Misuse? Subtile? Generations?

If NO one in the Bible has the “Title” or “Position” Pastor/Reverend/Leader; What does that do
to people after generations of thinking that’s okay and submitting the their so-called authority? :-(

Jesus warned us about - Making “the word of God” of none effect through your tradition… Mark 7:13
So by hireing pastors, and firing pastors, and calling someone pastor; when NOT one person in the
Bible had the “Title” or “Position” pastor/reverend/leader makes the word of God of none effect.

Now that’s “Spiritual Abuse” to me. Using something to bad effect, misuse.

In the Bible, there are no spectators watching Pastors - in pulpits - preaching - to people - in pews.

In the Bible everyone can, and is expected to, participate. All believers have a living Christ within.
All believers can hear “the Voice” of the shepherd and teach what God has taught them.

1Cor 14:26
How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine,
hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

By not allowing “The Body of Christ” to operate under the headship of Jesus when you come together
there is a “Bad Effect” and “Misuse” of the gifts that God wants to work through in every believer.

The majority in a meeting just sit in the pew and spectate. It’s like locking up a child in a closet.
They get no exercise. (using spiritual gifts) They get no light. (revelation directly from Jesus)

Now that’s “Abuse” to me.

Jesus told “His Disciples” Not to be called Rabbi/teacher, for you have one teacher the Christ. Mat 23:8

Jesus taught “His disciples” then and He does so now.

John 6:45
It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.

Deuteronomy 4:36
Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice,
that he might instruct thee:

Psalms 32:8
I will instruct thee and teach thee
in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

By not telling people that Jesus will teach you all truth,
they look to man. How has that worked for 1700 years. Oy Vey!

Now that’s “Abuse” to me.

And He warned them about religious leaders. Yes?

Matthew 23:6-8
And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
8* But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ;
“and all ye are brethren.”

Pastor/Leader = Exercise Authority = Lord it over = abuse = always

Jesus loves me and forgives me all my sins.

Yes, Jesus loves you and forgives all your sins. Do you forgive those who sin against you, including church leaders? They do err, frequently, yet the Christian life is not just "you and Jesus" in spite of your attempts to very, very selectively proof text your way to that conclusion. Perhaps you have even been abused by someone in the Church. That would be tragic, yet forgivable, too. Still, you conveniently omit the many references in Scripture which demonstrate that God has established order and leadership in the world, including in both Church and state. The fact that you can't find the word "pastor" or "reverend" in the Bible is merely a matter of the English language. Guess what? The Bible didn't fall from heaven as the English KJV. Look in the apostolic texts in Greek, and you'll see that both the office of the Holy Ministry as well as lay leaders are clearly given.

I can only conclude that your sinful nature and the the temptations of the devil and the world have led you to feel that you are autonomous when it comes to faith. However, "autonomous" is derived from "auto" (self) and "nomos" (law)... that is, one who is under no authority at all, and is a law unto one's self. There will be ongoing sinning by Christians in this life, we know (see Paul's own admission in his writings, as well as examples of other Christians sinning in Acts and elsewhere). We all sin daily in our many vocations... in our professions, our families, our citizenship, and our calling as Christ's people. This is not a justification for rejecting church or church leadership, of which there are ample biblical ordinances of its divine origin. You may have a "personal relationship" with Jesus, but it is by no means to be a "private relationship". Confessing Him as your Savior does not relieve you of your obligations to be bound together in the good and the bad with other believers (and God's appointed leaders), for that confession is shared.

It seems that you're merely exercising selective ignorance of the fullness of Scripture because doing so allows you to reach the conclusions you wish about church membership and church leadership, and to remain "auto-nomos". I call you to repentance, knowledge, and wisdom. May the Lord guide you to all three.

Matt is one of the best Bible teachers that I have ever heard; I try to listen to him every week. He makes a great point, because there are so many people who say "I'm a Christian, but I'm against organized religion". Then, you are not participating in being a Christian. It is more than just about the individual, but the individual doing his or her part in the church body!

Also, to not be in church and "spend time" with God is just like not spending time with a friend. You will lose touch and the relationship with suffer.

But, the opening quote is used incorrectly. St. Cyprian is talking about THE ONE Church, (note capital "C") not just the local congregation of that Church. Cyprian was around back when little sects were splitting off of the Catholic church in the 200's AD, and is referring to people separating from the Church.

As Matt himself asks, "Which church do you submit to?" and "There are many churches in Dallas that I have strong theological differences with."

The answer is, the only Church that Jesus Christ started; the Church that he gave the keys to the Kingdom to; the Church that he gave the power to bind and loose to; the One Holy,Catholic, and Apostolic Church!!!!

As Cardinal Newman, who converted from Anglicanism in the late 1800's put it, "To be deep into Church history is to cease to be Protestant." Reading the Church Fathers has brought many a person into the Church.

Dominus tecum!

What do you do when that church has gone courupt and is no longer a biblical church anymore, like the Roman Catholic Church? You leave it like Luther and Calvin did and start a true church again!

It's a pity you don't have a donate button! I'd certainly donate to this excellent
blog! I guess for now i'll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
I look forward to new updates and will talk about this website with my
Facebook group. Chat soon!

Or, you demand reform from within like St. Ignatious of Loyola and other saints of Luther's day.

There is "correction" displayed by Paul towards Peter in regards to circumcision and other "Jewish" rules that he points out that should not be instated to new Christians, and that is right in the Bible. Paul did not separate from Peter because he didn't like what he said, but rather corrected, which led Peter and the other 11 to agree, and change.

One should not always look to separate, but correct. The Roman Catholic Church only claims to be infallible when speaking on faith and morals. Look at where we have gotten with all of the separation: thousands of denominations arguing with each other. The amount of near hateful responses to Matt's article hurt my heart. Why so much arguing?

In church, when pastors talk about Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, they always say that they're the new guys, they can't just come in and decide something after 1800+ years......well, that is exactly what every new evangelical denomination has done, isn't it?

On a sidenote, read a bit about Luther. He was kind of a sick-o. Prior to his protest, he would go to confession almost every day because he was so paranoid and guilty. He writes about lots of pretty sick things......read his stuff before deciding on corruption. I believe he was a good man, and had good intentions, but lots of personal issues.

Arguing does not bring unity in Christ. We must avoid being the "trolls" that Paul describes in the last chapter of Romans.

God Bless!

Ben,I watched the whole smoern. It was almost 54 minutes long. I would suggest you do the same. That clip in context was actually worse IMO. I don't think I'm reading anything more into it than what we saw. Ed Young is issuing a junior-high-worthy, double-dog dare to the real men to hand over their personal banking information to him. If the point was just to inform people they can give electronically, he could have stated that people can give that way, give them the website link, maybe put it on the screen, and that would be sufficient. Instead he pranced around on the stage for almost an hour telling people if they weren't willing to give it up, they could just leave. Maybe it was on the form, but Ed did not say to fill in whatever amount you wanted to give or if it was expecting to be an ongoing pledge. All he said was to give them your bank name, routing number, and account number.And for what it's worth, I would not drop a check into the plate unless it was in a sealed envelope. Today I wouldn't even do that. For security reasons as well as convenience, I'm a big proponent of electronic banking.Nobody's criticizing electronic giving. Most churches that offer electronic giving print it in the bulletin, put it on their websites, and yes, may even mention it during services. We've been using Bill Pay for giving for years. But I've never heard someone demand (or even ask) that you just give them your personal backing information for them to do heaven-only-knows-what with.

Village Go-Er

"As Cardinal Newman, who converted from Anglicanism in the late 1800's put it, "To be deep into Church history is to cease to be Protestant." Reading the Church Fathers has brought many a person into the Church. "

I would say you could change a few words and say "To be deep into the Bible is to cease to be Roman Catholic"

It is actually a great and useful piece of info. I am happy that you simply shared this helpful
information with us. Please stay us informed like this.
Thanks for sharing.

Where the apostles, Mary, Paul and all the matrys in the first four centuries good Christians according to your viewpoint? None of them saw the "Bible" since it wasn't compiled until the end of the 4th century (by the Catholic Church).

Your King James VERSION, let me repeat, VERSION came along in 1630. It's not even complete.
Rapidly anti-Catholic Scottich Calvinists eliminated 7 books from the Old Testament in the 19th century in fear that some would be led to the Catholic Church. (ex. concept of Purgatory in Machabees)

Spend less time being Anti-Cathoilc and

Open your heart and mind to the Truth.

<><

On the contrary! To be deep in the Bible, depends on the bias in which you are being instructed. If you are being instructed in an anti-Catholic mindset, then you can read whatever you want into the Bible. Homosexuals take particular texts to make the Bible read how they want; it's easy to do.

I have attended Bible teaching churches my whole life, originally Baptist, and then non-denominational. I have never learned more about the Bible than from my pastors, both Tommy Nelson and Matt Chandler. Without them even knowing, their amazing instruction pushed me more towards the Catholic church. What eventually got me was the direct correlation between the Jewish faith-bread of the presence, passover, the queen mother, etc. and the Catholic faith.

If you study the Jewish faith, and the Greek text, and even the last supper that Jesus does, it all rolls directly to Catholicism. I attended a Jewish passover, and noting the drinking of the cups, that Christ at the table passes the third cup, then "finishes" the seder while on the cross is fascinating!). Truly studying scripture in great depth, you may not convert to Catholicism, but would definitely not have such animosity toward them.

Do you recite the Nicene Creed in your church? Who agreed on the "this is what being a Christian is"? Do you eat pork, or allow tattoos (especially when the old testament verse about tattoos is right next to the one about bestiality? Who decided that these things were okay when others weren't? In regards to abortion, which is one of the only churches that is staunchly against the murder of unborn humans? The Presbyterians, etc. say "it is a decision of grave morality" but never say it's wrong and a sin.

Just some things to think about and look into if you're interested. All is said in love, not argument.

God Bless!

Nowhere in Scripture does it speak of "members of a church" or "church membership." Such members will simply be those enrolled in an organisation calling itself a "church." Scripture speaks only of members of Christ's body (Rom 12:5; 1 Cor 12:12, 27). We know that up to 80% of people in most churches, holding membership, are false converts. Surely these are not members of Christ's body!
WK Kelly wrote: "Membership is not with a local church, but with the Church, the body of Christ, (Acts 2: 47) ; though, on the other hand, if one be not in fellowship with the assembly of the members of Christ where one resides, there can be for him no fellowship with them anywhere else."
A true believer simply needs to be in fellowship with other believers in a local church/assembly. They will submit to one another under the Headship of Christ, have no problem with church discipline when required, and will submit to the leadership and governance of those whom the Lord appoints as elders, because this can clearly be shown and taught from Scripture.
TH Reynolds wrote in 1888: "Scripture speaks of a Head and members vitally united together by the Holy Ghost. (1 Cor. 12: 13.) In the house of God, on the contrary, we have stones and a foundation, and corner-stone and a master-builder, or 'architect,' and the living God as He who dwells in it. To confuse one line of thought with the other is ruinous to 'rightly dividing the word of truth.' Moreover there is no such thing as a 'member of a church'; in Scripture it is 'membership of the body of Christ,' and a member of Christ can never cease to be a member.
Church membership is an arrangement introduced by man for humanistic purposes, and disregards the work of the Holy Spirit, who baptises into the Body of Christ those who are redeemed and regenerated; born again from above. Simply put, church membership is not biblical. Nowhere in Chandler's article is the Body of Christ mentioned; this is actually quite shocking, but indicative of a humanistic approach to the membership issue.

For me, the issue is not so much membership as the form that membership takes. People will try to justify many of the hurdles and criteria for membership by the scriptures, but I think some would be found lacking in biblical support and are more a reflection of our prejudices.

Matt

You write about...
Pastors, leaders, authority, submission.

Don’t know if you realize it but, those are the main tools, arguments, teachings, used in “Spiritual Abuse.”

I have seen the dangers of "Titles," and “Position,” of *Today’s* "Pastor/Leader."
“Spiritual Abuse” for both the "leader" and those “being led.”
IMO - The “Title” “Pastor/Leader,” who is “exercising authority like the gentiles”
and asking people “to submit to them” is very, very, dangerous for both.

Jesus taught “His Disciples:” NOT to “Exercise Authority.” Mark 10:41-45.
And, NOT to be called “Master/Leader for there is “ONE” Master/Leader, the Christ. Mat 23:10.
Peter taught: Neither as being **lords over** God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 1Peter 5:3
And “to submit one to another” and be clothed with humility. 1 Peter 5:5.
Ezekiel 14 1:10 Talks about “Idols” of the heart and god now talks to us through our “Idols.”

In my experience...
“Titles” become “Idols”
“Pastors’ become “Masters”

No matter how loving... eventually...
No matter how humble... eventually...
No matter how much a servant... eventually...

Pastor/Leader = exercise authority = lord it over = abuse = always

I'm not new to "ministering healing" to those who have been “Abused”
by those who took the “Title” and “Position”- “Pastor/Leader."

Folks who have been **burnt,** ** burnt out,** ** kicked out,**
and **crawled out** of "the corrupt religious system" most today call “church.”
with it's leaders, submission to authority, tithes and offerings,
and other unbiblical "heavy weights" put on folks shoulders.

I also spend time with pastors,
"so called leaders," who can't do it anymore.

Trying to please the denominational leaders,
the congregation and it's leaders, his family,
and of course Jesus.
Who is often relegated to last place. Hmmm?

Searving so many masters, that's tough; Yes? :-(

Preaching every week... and it better be good, being the CEO,
the team leader, councilor, marrying, burying, smiley face. etc. etc.

Seems to me **Today’s** “Pastor/Leader,” and their family,
pay a horrible price for assuming a “Title” and “Position” NOT found in the Bible?

In the Bible, How many people... have the title pastor/reverend?
In the Bible, How many people are... referred to as pastor/reverend?
In the Bible, How many people are... ordained as a pastor/reverend?
In the Bible, How many congregations are... led by a pastor/reverend?

Be blessed in your search for truth... Jesus...

Matt, I agree with most of what you write, but would disagree that a formalized membership process in mandatory. For what it's worth, I posted a counter-perspective at http://www.mhmcintyre.us/2011/05/07/church-membership-a-response-to-matt-chandler/.

SDG

This is so helpful! I have so many college students asking me about joining a church and this is such a great resource. Thanks for putting this great info out there.