The Membership Debate
Since every Christian becomes a member of God’s universal family at the time of salvation, the question is often asked, “Why become a member of the local church?” This is a good question and one that has caused unnecessary tension, and even division in some churches. Becoming a member of a local body of believers does not ensure your salvation or have any effect on your eternal rewards. But we need to remember that the local church is where our spirits are fed and our needs are shared. It is where we corporately come before Him in worship and gather for prayer. Finally, it is the place that God has chosen where we are to use our spiritual gifts and talents for the building up of the Body of Christ, and for the glory of God (Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Peter 4:10).
The Bible refers to the Church as the bride of Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 5:25-33; Revelation 19:7-8; 21:9). A high responsibility is placed on the Church to glorify Him and to care for and feed His people. Thus the need for a pure and high level of commitment within the local church becomes very clear. This commitment is demonstrated by membership. Membership says, “You can count on me.” It confirms that you are “part of the family.” And it sends a clear message to the rest of the congregation that you want to invest in their spiritual growth by using your Spirit-given gifts to glorify Christ.
Commitment to Corporate Worship
Scripture is clear that followers of Jesus are more than just church attenders, church shoppers, or church drifters. Becoming a member of a local church is a commitment to consistently worship God together with your fellow disciples (Hebrews 10:24-25). Membership moves the Christian from the category of attender to the category of committed.
Commitment to Sound Doctrine
The New Testament constantly warns believers against falling prey to false teaching. One of the purposes of the Church is to hold faithfully to the trustworthy message of Scripture, so that we can encourage others with sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it (Titus 1:9). This becomes increasingly impossible in isolation or even in inconsistent commitment to the local church.
Commitment to Care
As followers of Jesus we are commanded to love one another, (John 13:34-35) encourage one another, (1 Thessalonians 5:11) pray for one another, (James 5:16) carry one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and rescue one another from going astray (James 5:19-20). All of these are made possible when we make a mutual commitment to each
other. Membership in the local church is an expression of this
Commitment to Holy Living & Accountability
Scripture is clear that we have the loving responsibility to confront our fellow followers of Jesus who live in unrepentant sin and who stray from the path of righteousness (1 Corinthians 5: 1-13; Matthew 18:15-18; James 5:19-20). When we avoid commitment to one another through membership in the local church, it is too easy to spiritually and morally stray, unnoticed (Proverbs 18:1). This often leads to the devastation of lives, families, churches, ministries, and testimonies.
Commitment to Serve
As a member of God’s family, each Christian is given a spiritual gift to be used in the family of God. “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1Peter 4:10). This “gifting” is your ministry. It was given to you to serve your local church and not to be kept solely for your own private use (Romans 12:3-11). Church membership is a commitment to serve the particular part of the family of God where He has placed you.
Commitment to Unity
Unity among believers is a powerful demonstration of the grace and mercy that God has poured into our lives. Ephesians 4:3 tells us to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” There can be no real bond of peace and no real unity of the Spirit without a genuine commitment to and relationship with one another. Church membership joins us in our unity of faith, doctrine, and love for one another. “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
Commitment to Grow & Mature
God created the Church “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine…”(Ephesians 4:12-14). The Church is God’s intended training center for spiritual growth and maturity. Church membership is a commitment to grow in spiritual maturity, both personally and corporately. With this level of commitment, Christians can avoid perpetual spiritual infancy and self-deception which can lead to devastating lukewarm Christianity (Revelation 3:14-22).
How to Become a Member at Cornerstone Bible Church
1) Be assured of your salvation. Church membership is specifically for those who have entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
2) Be baptized by immersion.
3) Fill out a membership application.
4) Attend the CBC membership classes. These classes are offered annually.
5) Sign the membership covenant, and schedule an interview with the pastor.
Q: Can I just transfer my membership from another church?
No. CBC does not accept transfer memberships from other churches. We will discuss your reasons for leaving your other church, and walk through the CBC membership process with you.
Q: How old do you have to be to become a member?
The minimum age is 18.
Q: Do I get a membership card or something to show that I am a member?
Yes. You will receive a certificate of membership.
Q: Is membership required to serve at CBC?
In some areas of service, membership is required. These are primarily in positions of leadership.