Many people are against church membership. They see it as unnecessary and cumbersome as they live their individual Christian life. Some have been hurt by previous churches and so vow never to be a member again. “I’ll go to church faithfully and love it, I’m just not going to be a member.”
Some churches even boast that they do not have church membership. They boast that church can be served without distinct members who have willfully submitted themselves to the shepherds and each other. An oxymoron nonetheless.
- We are called to submit to elders and to each other for our pastors have charge over our souls (Hebrews 13:7). One cannot know who they are in charge of without knowing who is part of the church. It is first a submission issue.
- We are called not live an autonomous Christian life, not simply a personal relationship with Christ, but with a life committed to the strengthening of the church by using our spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12). It is secondly a dependence issue.
- We are called to be obedient and not forsake the fellowship with the saints (Hebrews 10:25). This is because God has designed the church not for simply a Sunday morning but to encourage, equip, exhort, and grow the body in sanctification. Lastly, it is an obedience issue.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon as always gives a vivid picture of you, the brick, and how not to be a good-for-nothing brick.
I know there are some who say, “Well, I’ve given myself to the Lord, but I don’t intend to give myself to any church.” I say, “Now why not?” And they answer, “Because I can be just as good a Christian without it.” I say, “Are you quite clear about that? You can be as good a Christian by disobedience to your Lord’s commands as by being obedient? There’s a brick. What is the brick made for? It’s made to build a house. It is of no use for the brick to tell you that it’s just as good a brick while it’s kicking about on the ground by itself, as it would be as part of a house. Actually, it’s a good-for-nothing brick. So, you rolling stone Christians, I don’t believe that you’re answering the purpose for which Christ saved you. You’re living contrary to the life which Christ would have you live and you are much to blame for the injury you do.”