Why should I become a “member” at a church?

There are several reasons why churches have membership, and why they ask people to go through a process in order to “join” a church as a member. Membership is necessary for legal purposes. In order for the church to own property and make other financial decisions, there needs to be a base of members who are legally responsible for these things. Membership is necessary for voting purposes. A church would never ask random people in the community to make important decisions for them; the voting members of the church have to do this. Membership is also important when it comes to understanding the health of the church. People ask me all the time “How many people at our church ______” (i.e. ...are in a small group, ...read their Bible regularly, ...participated in the last impact challenge, etc). The first step to clarify what “people” we are talking about. Are we talking about the members, the regular attenders, or anyone who has come in the last year? In other words, the Christmas Eve and Easter crowd or the Summer crowd?

I think you should join a local church as a member. But not for any of the reasons listed above. Here’s why you should join a church as a member: A high commitment to Jesus has to intersect with a high commitment to a local community of others who are committed to Jesus.

Let’s change the question: why would anyone want to get married? Studies show that although marriage rates are down and cohabitation is at an all time high, an overwhelming majority of adults still want to get married someday.

Without “tying the knot”, my partner and I can have all the benefits of marriage. We can have sex, binge Netflix shows, share a home, raise children, fight about money, shop at Ikea, update our relationship status on Facebook, exchange rings… we can do everything married people do. (Except file taxes jointly... But the tax thing is not why people still value marriage.)

Marriage represents a higher level of commitment. The difference between a cohabiting relationship and a marriage may not seem significant to the naked eye, but that piece of paper from the courthouse still really matters to people. That marriage license says “I know I told you I was committed to you - but real talk - I am committed.”

My commitment to Jesus must intersect with a commitment to a local church. That intersection is marked by membership.