Church Membership

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:

Book Review: What to Do When You Don’t Want to Go to Church, by Peggy Palau and Peggy Sue Wells

Review by Mike McKinley | 03.05.2010

We need more than a call to just go back to church; we need to give ourselves to understanding what the church is, and then commit to building such a body.

Book Review: Membership Matters, by Chuck Lawless

Review by Owen Strachan | 03.05.2010

For its focus on membership and involvement, Lawless’s book is a significant help in directing a church toward a more biblical polity.

Book Review: It Takes a Church to Raise a Christian, by Tod E. Bolsinger

Review by John Folmar | 03.05.2010

This book stumbles as it pits “community,” and particularly the observance of the Lord’s Supper, against sound doctrine.

Book Review: Stealing Sheep, by William Chadwick

Review by Greg Gilbert | 03.05.2010

Chadwick’s book is a marvelous challenge to the widespread problem of Christian mobility.

Book Review: Where Do We Go From Here?, by Ralph Neighbour

Review by Greg Gilbert | 03.03.2010

The structure of cell churches the author proposes seems to me to surrender far too much of what it means to be a church.

Book Review: The Transforming Community, by Mark Lauterbach

Review by Jonathan Leeman | 9Marks Journal: Church Discipline (Part 1) | 03.02.2010

If you’re not careful, Lauterbach’s book just might cause a paradigm shift in how you think about grace and the gospel, as well as how you think about the church.

Pastors’ and Theologians’ Forum on the Emerging Church

By Forum | 9Marks Journal: The Emerging Church | 03.01.2010

What do you hope will ultimately emerge from the emerging church conversation for evangelicals?