The Big Difference Between Church Membership and Biblical Membership

Unlike memberships where you receive something in exchange for your dues/commitment/connection, church membership is more about responsibility than reward. While it’s rewarding to be a part of God’s church, commitment brings the call to set aside personal preference, pick up the cross, grow as a disciple, and commit to a group of people who are seeking to follow and serve Jesus together. The church has a mission.

Church membership could include any of these scenarios:

  1. Stay on the rolls without showing up or giving.
  2. Stay on the rolls and attend once or twice a year.
  3. Give a nice sum of money each year without investing your gifts to serve.

As Thom S. Rainer says in his book, I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference, “This approach to membership is man-made, man-centered, and man-maintained. It’s totally contrary to Biblical membership and has no place in the church.”

What is Biblical Membership?

  • Giving abundantly and serving without hesitation.
  • Participating as the body of Christ. Each one of us has our part to play in the ministry of our local church (1 Corinthians 12).
  • Being part of the action and using our gifts to further the mission through giving, regular presence, and ministry leadership/service.

The concept of an inactive church member is an oxymoron.

I don’t think this book would motivate a non-Christian to take action, but I do think it would be convicting and motivating to the marginal Christian – the person who grew up in church and faith, or was once connected and involved.

It’s not uncommon to fade away and not even realize why due to a bunch of little things. I’ve often said that sheep don’t just leave, they nibble their way lost. If your church doesn’t currently fit, consider others. If you call yourself a believer, you must be an active member of God’s church. Find one and begin to plug in.

I encourage you to become more than a church member. Become a Biblical Member who makes a difference. Be involved. Invest your gifts in the church and kingdom work. Investing in the eternal will make a difference in your life and the lives of your family, kids, and future generations.