When we look to Scripture, we see that God intends for every believer in Jesus Christ who is part of the universal church, to be a recognised member of a local church.
We realise that some people mistakenly think that because the term ‘church membership’ is not explicitly stated in Scripture, that it is not important. However, there are various terms which are not explicitly spelt out in Scripture which are still much part of the design of God (e.g. the Trinity). And so it is with church membership.
Although church membership is not biblically commanded, it is biblically implied by local church gatherings (1 Corinthians 1:2; Colossians 4:15; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2), by the practice of church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5), by church leadership (Hebrews 13:17; Acts 20:28), and by church accountability (Acts 6:3-6; 13:3; 1 Corinthians 5; Hebrews 10:24-25).
What Church Membership means
at Redemption Church Christchurch?
We acknowledge that Scripture teaches that every believer should be connected and committed within a local church body.
We welcome everyone who would like to visit our church, knowing that there is a season in which it’s necessary for people to get a feel for the fellowship, the teaching, and whether or not they sense the potential of connecting with other believers on more than just a surface level.
We certainly don’t want to rush this process, but at the same time, we want visitors to know that we encourage them to be actively working towards the point of church membership.
At any one time, there will only be two categories of people who gather together in the life of the church – those who are members, and those who are considering membership.
We want to avoid a third category forming in which a person doesn’t fit into either one of these categories. If a person makes a decision that they do not wish to become a recognised member of our church, then our encouragement to them is to find another local church body which is better suited to them, rather than remaining at RCC as a visitor.
We never want to give the impression that one’s involvement in the local church is optional, nor do we want to create a church culture which thinks it’s ok for believers to be spectators or on-lookers.
Now of course, if a person is an unbeliever, it would be wrong to push membership within the local church, but instead, the main focus is to firstly point them towards becoming part of the universal church, by trusting in Christ alone for salvation. Membership within the universal church must always come before membership within the local church.
What it means to be a recognised
member of Redemption Church Christchurch?
We realise that there are many different ways that membership is practiced from church to church.
At Redemption Church Christchurch, there are four main things that we require in order for a person to be considered a recognised member of the fellowship:
That they are a baptised, born again believer, trusting in Jesus Christ alone for Salvation.
That they have read and understood the church’s statement of faith and accept that any doctrines taught will be in line with this.
That they have read and understood the core-values of Redemption Church, and have listened to the relevant teachings on each subject where clarification was needed. That they accept that these values form the Biblical foundation for the vision and direction of this fellowship.
That they are committing themselves to regular fellowship for the purpose of corporate worship, bible teaching, prayer and communion, under the leadership of biblically-qualified elders.
While it is right and Biblical for those who are part of a church to support that church financially and serve within that church, we do not have any specific or detailed requirements for this. Rather, we desire that each person is simply available and willing to follow the Lord’s leading in these areas, “each doing their share” (Ephesians 4:16).
We encourage prospective church members to not only talk to the church leaders about what church membership means, but to also talk with existing church members.
In summary, according to God’s wisdom and His care for building up the universal body of Christ, He has purposed that a physical expression of this is to be represented on a local level. Where believers gather together, identifying themselves as a local body, under the spiritual care of biblically qualified leaders, who acknowledge that Christ is the Head of that body.
Blessing always follows obedience, and so we desire to commit ourselves to God’s ways, and God’s wisdom, and God’s purposes for the church.
Learn more about what God’s Word teaches about church membership
If you would like to better understand what God’s Word teaches about church membership, the following audio teachings will be a help: