Church Membership

Implementing Membership in an Existing Church

By John Folmar | 9Marks Journal: Church Membership: Holding the Body Together | 04.28.2011

We believe the most important question that should confront a new person attending any church is this: Where do you stand with God?

Twelve Reasons Why Membership Matters

By Jonathan Leeman | 9Marks Journal: Church Membership: Holding the Body Together | 04.28.2011

The Christian life in the New Testament is church life. Christians today should expect and desire the same.

Meaningless Membership: A Southern Baptist Perspective

By Al Jackson | 9Marks Journal: Church Membership: Holding the Body Together | 04.28.2011

How has meaningless church membership adversely affected the Southern Baptist Convention?

Book Review: The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love, by Jonathan Leeman

Review by Tim Chester | 9Marks Journal: Church Membership: Holding the Body Together | 04.28.2011

I was asked to review this book as a “friendly dissenter,” but I have struggled to dissent. So now I am worried. What is it that I am supposed to have objected to?

Joining a Church the Ancient Way: From Clement to Egeria

By Michael A. G. Haykin | 9Marks Journal: Church Membership: Holding the Body Together | 04.28.2011

As it was in the earliest days of the Christian faith, so it is again: entry into a local church should be by way of catechism, creed, and baptism—and in that order.

Is Church Membership Biblical?

Is Church Membership Biblical?

By Matt Chandler | 9Marks Journal: Church Membership: Holding the Body Together | 04.28.2011

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?

Theological Critique of Multi-Site: What Exactly Is a “Church”?

By Jonathan Leeman | 9Marks Journal: Multi-site Churches | 09.30.2010

What’s the difference between a church and three Christian friends throwing Frisbee at the local park?

Using Small Groups to Cultivate Fellowship

By Michael Lawrence | 9Marks Journal: Miscellaneous Articles | 08.23.2010

It’s possible to be a biblical Christian without belonging to a small group. It’s impossible to be one without belonging to a church.

Does being a member of a church mean I’m a Christian?


No. Turning from your sin and trusting in Christ makes you a Christian, not being a member of a church.

However, church membership is meant to be a church’s corporate affirmation of your profession of faith in Christ. Membership is supposed to be the church saying, “We’ve looked at your life. We’ve heard your testimony and your explanation of the gospel. You look like a Christian to us, so we’re happy to affirm you as a Christian, welcome you as a brother in Christ, and care for you and watch over you.”

Is a Christian obligated to treat members of his church any differently than he treats other Christians?


The apostle Paul urges Christians to do good to all men, especially those who are of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10). But the Bible also seems to indicate that Christians have a special responsibility to love, admonish, and care for those who are members of their local church.

What activities in the church should be reserved for members?

The Lord’s Supper. If someone has not visibly, publicly identified with the body of Christ they should not be admitted to the family meal. Visiting Christians who are members of other faithful evangelical churches would be an exception to this, for the sake of charitably recognizing the body of Christ at large.

Must someone be a church member before being allowed to serve?


Many churches attempt to adopt an inviting and warm posture by allowing both non-Christians and prospective Christian members to serve publicly in the church. Certainly outreach is a good motive. But is this the whole picture? We believe that public acts of service—like serving in the nursery, teaching children, leading music, teaching adult Sunday school, and leading a small group—should be reserved for members of the church. Why?

Is church membership wrongly exclusive?


Tolerance and inclusivity are the quintessential postmodern virtues. It seems that the only way to be genuinely wrong in contemporary western society is to ever exclude anyone. Contemporary westerners are born cherishing particular conceptions of diversity, inclusion, and tolerance.

Isn’t the idea of membership just a modern American idea?



How does a well-defined membership commend and clarify the gospel?


A well-defined membership commends and clarifies the gospel by