What does it mean to be a member of a church?
A member of our church is someone who makes an enduring commitment to join our body of believers in coming under the authority of Jesus Christ, living in obedience to the Bible, serving the church body, submitting to God’s ordained authority structure and supporting the work of the church. A member of our church is someone who makes a commitment to engage with and stay in our church family in order to help those in it grow in godliness and to let the church help them do the same. It is someone who has recognized that God has called them to move past being a consumer of the ministries of the church to being a partner in extending the grace, truth and love of Jesus to others.
What is the Biblical basis for church membership?
Formal, committed relationships of accountability, or membership, were practiced in every New Testament local church. Every church in the New Testament had leaders (Elders, Pastors, Overseers, Shepherds, Bishops) who were held accountable by God for the spiritual care of the specific Christians in their churches. The Christians were held accountable to God for their submission to their specific leaders (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, 1 Timothy 5:17).
The instructions for pastoral oversight and spiritual leadership were to care for “all the flock” (Acts 20:28-31, 1 Timothy 3, Philippians 1:1, Titus 1). Since church leaders are accountable for the souls of the flock under their care (Hebrews 13:17), and specifically for “those in your charge” (1 Peter 5:3), church leaders need to know who is a member of their flock and who specifically is in their charge.
One of the evidences that someone is in fact a Christian is that they will love and serve the Bride of Christ, the Church. For most Christians, this means that they are serving a particular local church in a committed and sacrificial way (John 13:2-16 & 35, Acts 2:42-47, Romans 12:1-13, Ephesians 4:11-16, Philippians 2:1-11, 1 Peter 4:10).
How do I become a member?
If you are interested in becoming a member of SWBC and joining with other committed believers, there are three steps to church membership:
1. Attend an Explore the Church Class. This class is offered one Sunday every other month, at 10:30 a.m. in the teacher’s lounge at Boone. Explore the Church is an opportunity for you to learn more about our purpose, our mission and our organizational structure. Please check the Upcoming Events or contact the church office for the date of the next class.
2. Connect with a Small Group. Visit our Small Groups page for more information on how to get connected.
3. Complete the Membership Form. Please complete and submit the Online Membership Form. A link to supporting membership documents is included below the form. After your form is submitted, your small group shepherd will contact you to finalize your membership process.
Jesus’ priority for the church is that it should be close and that the relationships within the church reflect the closeness of the trinity.
In John 17:20-23, we see Jesus’ desire for the church in His prayer for it: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
The kind of closeness that Jesus is praying for the church is something that is almost unimaginable today where we change jobs, locations, relationships and churches so easily. The kind of closeness that Jesus is praying for requires long term, transparent, sacrificial and deeply committed relationships. That is why we believe that membership in a local church is vital for us to become the people that Jesus prayed we should be.