If you attend Calvary for any length of time, the topic of membership is bound to come up. What does it mean to be a member of a church? You might be a member of a gym, or a club, or some other organization, but you’ve never given much thought to becoming a “member” of Calvary.
Is it such a big deal? Well, yes and no…
Yes: Those who officially “join” Calvary are making the decision to affirm their agreement with our vision, direction, and beliefs, and have agreed to be supportive of the church by investing their resources of time, talent, and finances in order to support the ongoing ministry of the church.
Finally, members have taken on the responsibility to shape and protect the past, present, and future of the church. So, for a lot of reasons, church membership is very important. Membership is important for accountability in our opportunities and responsibilities as localized ministry.
No: You can follow Jesus and never “join” a church. In fact, the phrase “church membership” never appears in scripture. There is no record of someone joining the church, although there are clear examples that people were recognized as being “in” or “out” of the church.
So why become a member?
Because the bulk of the New Testament is concerned with how the church relates to Jesus Christ, each other, and the world. The church is important enough for Jesus to shed his blood, and enough for countless men and women to give their lives that the church might continue even when horribly persecuted. The Bible may not mention membership in the form of signing a piece of paper, but it does talk about membership in a much deeper way.
- 1 Corinthians 12:12, 27
Among the various metaphors describing the church, the image of a body and its members helps us understand just how important membership in the Body of Christ really is. The body and its members was a vivid sign for early Christians, so the Bible seizes this image as a way to communicate the importance of church unity, diversity, accountability, and ministry.
Just as the different "members" of our bodies work in an interdependent unity, the members of the Body of Christ are called to do the same. Membership at Calvary is simply a proactive and intentional commitment to join in what Christ is doing through this local expression of his Body.