Is church membership biblical?

At FBC Webb City we strive to take church membership serious and make it meaningful. We believe official membership is a biblical concept. In the New Testament there are instances where letters were sent with a Christian from one church family to carry with them to another city's church family. These letters verified to the new church family that the traveler was a genuine convert to Christ and a committed follower of the way of Christ. Paul also makes mention of a Christian being among the "number" of a church body. See Acts 18:27; Colossians 4:12

Furthermore, letters titled Ephesians, Galatians, Corinthians, etc. These were are clearly applicable to the church worldwide, however they were original written to a specific local church in that city. This implies that the church knew and understood who belonged to their local congregation. For example, one would be clear if they belonged to the church of Ephesus, or Corinth, etc. 

Finally, Pastors (or Elders/Overseers) are spoken of in the New Testament as being over specific congregations. If a Pastor/Elder is held accountable for how they shepherd the flock God has placed them over, this implies there was a clear way of knowing who belonged to the flock. For example, a Pastor in the church of Ephesus would not be accountable for shepherding also the people in the Church of Rome. The implication is each Pastor has a way of determining who belongs to their church. Who they are held accountable for to pastor and teach. This all implies some system of church membership. See 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Timothy 5:17; 1 Peter 5:1-14.

With this biblical model set before us, we also strive to define membership for our church. This helps our pastors know whom they are directly accountable for to pastor among. This also helps the members have a meaningful church family to be in fellowship with and share life with. 

how to join our church

We accept people as candidates for membership and follow the process laid out here.

A person applies for membership to join our church congregation. We receive them as a candidate under one of the three conditions: 

Baptism: Upon satisfactory evidence of repentance toward God and a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, an applicant may be received as a candidate for baptism by immersion. 

Letter: A member of another church of like faith and order may be received by a letter of transfer from such church, provided their baptism was by water immersion. 

Statement of Experience: Any person to whom the ordinance of baptism has been scripturally administered (by immersion), but the record of which has been lost or destroyed, may be received as a member upon their statement of experience and faith in Christ. 

Upon candidacy by one of these three manners, the candidate meets with our pastor in order to get know him better, learn about our church culture, and the pastor gets aquatinted with the candidate as well. 

During this process the pastor seeks to hear the candidates personal salvation testimony and journey with the Lord up to this point. 

The next phase is the candidate undergoes a new member course. This varies in length at the discretion of the pastor. The candidate is taught the core beliefs of our church, basic Christian doctrine, and the distinctive beliefs we hold as Baptists. This is a time where the candidate can ask questions and learn more about who we are as a body of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is also a time where we share the expectations of members among our church. 

After completion of this process, the candidate is voted on for membership at our next business meeting. After this, the candidate is now a full member of our church family. 

If you are interested in joining our church family, we invite you to first visit us on a Sunday morning service if you have not yet. We would love to meet you in person. You can call our office and ask to speak to our pastor if you have further questions or interest about membership.