Church membership is something that the local church — particularly my generation — has black-eyed. It’s too structured and too old school. It’s not cool. It’s just a way for the church to have a hand in your pocketbook.
I couldn’t disagree more. Carly and I recently went through our church membership class. We connected with our lead pastor and were able to align ourselves with the mission and vision of our church. That is significant, but more than that, I think membership in a local congregation is important; and I think there are texts in the New Testament that infer something like the contemporary version of what we know as church membership.
It’s important for a couple reasons — off the top of my head. First, for the lead elder/pastor to know who he is accountable for before God (see 1 Peter 5 and Hebrews 13 for examples). Second, in order for church discipline to be handled correctly, there must be an identifiable group of people who are members, who can vote on such issues. After all, how can a man be kicked out of church if there is no membership (see 1 Corinthians 5 for example).
Lord willing, expect more on this later.
Here are John Piper’s thoughts on the subject.