The Assemblies of God Statement on Church Membership

Many Christians ask, "Is joining a local church necessary?" The New Testament has ample evidence that when a person trusts Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and takes on new identity in Christ, that person immediately attaches to a local band of believers.

4 Reasons for Joining a Local Church

1.Church membership is an expression of commitment.

In a world where commitment is diluted and loyalty is nonexistent, the church serves as a standard of commitment. Jesus is looking for those who will not look back, have counted the cost, and are willing to give up everything to follow Him (Luke 9:62; 14:33). Church membership is a commitment to the Body through the times of blessing as well as times of trial.

 

2.Church membership models caring.

Church members exist to accomplish many functions, including devotion to each other, honoring one another, sharing with each other, and practicing hospitality (Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12). The apostle Paul went so far as to say that the members belong to each other. This model of a caring community can best take place when the individual members of the Body make a commitment to one another. In the Assemblies of God church membership is considered the best means to accomplish these standards of caring in our pursuit of becoming a Romans 12 church.

 

3.Church membership shares the burden.

We are instructed to carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). The picture here is of a beast of burden (the mule) who can carry 10 times more baggage than one man can bear. It is the same with the church. Sometimes we need each other to carry the heavy burdens life hands out. A commitment to church membership says, "I’m willing to share the load and help carry someone else’s burdens. I’ll be available when needed." This also allows the individual members to rest assured that someday they’ll need help carrying a burden, and someone will be there to help—much as a healthy family functions (1 Corinthians 12:26).

 

4.Church membership says, "I’ll serve."

As one must join the military to have the privilege and duty of serving one’s country, so it is with the church. We must join the ranks of the committed to receive the full benefit of serving God. Someone has said, "You are either a spectator on the sidelines or a participant in the trenches." God is looking for participants in His army. Ephesians 4:12 declares that the members of the church are to be equipped for service. Only true members are issued equipment to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–20). All spiritual gifts are intended to operate within the context of the local church (1 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Peter 4:10).

 

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Wayde I. Goodall, D.Min., is senior pastor of First Assembly of God, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.