Won’t having a more demanding membership process keep people from joining the church?

9Marks

Maybe. It’s certainly more likely to keep non-Christians who profess to be Christians from joining the church.

But it’s more important to have more attending and submissive members than it is to have more members, since the Scriptures calls Christians to attend and submit to their churches. In the West today, a church will only grow in more attending and submissive members by having a careful membership process.

What questions should be asked in a membership interview?

9Marks

In addition to basic life details (marriage, job, etc), elders or pastors should ask prospective members:

Why is it a good idea for an elder to interview each applicant for membership?

9Marks
In many churches, size will prevent each member from getting to know every single new person who ever comes to a meeting of the church. Yet a church needs to assess the credibility of someone’s profession of faith in Christ (Matt. 18:18). The elders are entrusted with the oversight of the church (1 Pet. 5:2). They are appointed to the office of elder precisely so that they can keep a close watch over the whole flock (Acts 20:28).

How should a church do membership classes?

9Marks

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.

Why is it a good idea for a church to have membership classes?

9Marks
It gives a church the opportunity to introduce itself. In a large, complex society with a long Christian-tradition, there are many false churches and false gospels. A membership class provides a church the opportunity to say who it is and what it believes.   It tells a prospective member what he or she can expect from the church. Prospective members learn how a church works, how it makes decisions, and where to get involved. It can help people know what they can expect from the pastor or other church leaders.

What should a church expect from its members?

9Marks

A church should expect that its members will:

What should be required of someone in order to join a church?

9Marks

In order to join a local church someone should be:

How can I lead my church to clean up its membership rolls?

9Marks
First, teach on church membership. Whether in expositional sermons or a topical series or a Bible study, address passages like Matthew 18:15-17, 1 Corinthians 5, and 2 Corinthians 2:6 and the implications they have for church membership. Patiently teach your people until they understand the importance of church membership and their responsibilities as church members. Begin removing nonattending members, beginning with the easiest and moving to the hardest. From easiest to hardest…

How can I lead my church toward meaningful membership?

9Marks
Proclaim the gospel. Preach about God’s holiness, man’s sinfulness, Christ’s substitutionary atonement and resurrection, and our need to repent of our sins and trust in him. And make it clear that those who are not committed to one another in love have no reason to think that they have committed to God in love (1 John 4:20-21). Use a statement of faith and church covenant. Require members to affirm a statement of faith (what a church believes) and a church covenant (how members will live together).

Why is meaningful membership important for evangelism?

9Marks

Meaningful membership is important because the church is God’s evangelism plan for the world. A church is like a radio transmitter, sending out messages about God twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

What is “meaningful membership”?

9Marks

“Meaningful membership” means four things:

What are some other reasons to join a church?

9Marks

In addition to the New Testament’s teaching that every Christian should submit to a local church and its leaders (see Matt. 18:15-20, Heb. 13:17), there are many other good reasons to join a church:

According to Scripture, why should every Christian join a church?

9Marks

Every Christian should join a church because Scripture requires it. Granted, there is no direct command in Scripture that says, “Every Christian must join a local church,” but two factors in Scripture indicate that every Christian should be a member of a local church.

Where do we see church membership in the New Testament?

9Marks
Matthew 18:15-17: "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault…if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you…If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” The ability to exclude someone from “the church” presupposes that it’s known who belongs to “the church” as a member in the first place.

Is church membership biblical?

9Marks

The highest moral laws in the secular west today are toleration and non-judgmentalism. The very ideas of inclusion and exclusion in any context make people think of elitism, xenophobia, or racism.

Still, church membership is an idea with deep biblical roots: