Responsibilities of Church Membership
The word “church” is used in two senses in the Bible:
Universal – all of the saved gathered into one body (Eph. 1:22-23).
Local – all of the saved in a given location (1 Cor. 1:2).
When we are saved, we are automatically added to the universal church
by God (Acts 2:47).
As individuals, we must join ourselves to a local church (Acts 9:26-28).
A local church is a functioning unit of Christians who have joined
themselves together and have made a commitment to carry out the work of the
church (Evangelism, Edification, Benevolence). This work will get done, to the
greatest extent possible, only if every member will do his share.
If I am a member of a local church, I have responsibilities to that church.
Hebrews 10:24-25 – some people look upon attendance as a trivial thing.
Some are on church rolls, but haven’t attended in years. This was not the
practice in the New Testament. When the saints assembled, every member was
told to be present.
This passage teaches us that important things are accomplished when the
saints assemble together.
We exhort one another and stir up love and good works.
In the hymns we sing, we teach and admonish one another (Col. 3:16).
In our Bible classes, we share thoughts and comments that lead to a
greater understanding of the Scriptures.
Great things happen during our assemblies. We should want to be here.
Not everyone who is absent from the assembly is forsaking.
“forsaking” – “to abandon, desert, to leave behind.” Those who are sick,
working, shut-in or out of town are not forsaking. Those who are tending to an
emergency are not forsaking.
However, those who have stayed home or gone to a recreational event
have abandoned the saints on that occasion.
I have a responsibility to the local church. The very least that I can do is
make a commitment to be here for every service that I can attend.
II. Receive the Word
One thing that is done in the assemblies is the preaching and teaching of
Acts 2:42 – the early church continued steadfastly in the apostles’
doctrine. The teaching of God’s Word is vital to the local church. However, the
preacher is not the only one with a responsibility in this area.
James 1:21-22 – when the word is taught or preached, I am to lay aside
sinful thoughts and distractions, and receive the word. I am to listen to do –
putting the teachings of the Bible into action in my life. Only then will it save
Acts 17:11-12 – I am to receive the word with all readiness. I am to come
to the assemblies prepared to listen and learn.
I am not to take the preacher’s word for it. I am to search the Scriptures to
make sure what I have heard is the truth. Only then am I to believe it.
As I grow in my knowledge of God’s Word, I will become a better
Christian, which will make me a better member of the church.
Acts 20:35 – like anything else in life, church is not about what I get, but
what I give.
Money. I have a responsibility to support the work of the church with my
Some people talk about tithing (giving ten percent). That amount was
commanded in the Old Testament. However, in the New Testament, Christians
are told to give…
1. As they prosper (1 Cor. 16:2).
2. As they purpose in their heart (2 Cor. 9:7).
Time and Talents. Our contribution doesn’t stop with money. We are to
contribute our time and talents to the work and worship of the local church.
1 Cor. 12:12-18 – the local church is made up of different people with
different talents. Not everyone can do the same thing. Thus everyone is needed.
Ephesians 4:11-16 – we all have something to supply, we all have our
share of the work to do.
I have a responsibility to contribute to the work of the church. I must give
of my money, but I must also give of my time and talents.
IV. Keep the Unity
John 17:20-21 – Jesus prayed for our unity, “that they all may be one.”
1 Cor. 1:10 – Paul pleaded with the church to be one.
Unity in the local church is the will of God. It is according to the pattern
set forth in the New Testament. However, it requires an effort on the part of the
Ephesians 4:1-6 – we are to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the
bond of peace.
endeavor – “to use speed, to make effort, be prompt or earnest” (Strong’s).
We are to make an individual effort to maintain unity and peace by
practicing humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with one another in love.
When it comes to doctrinal matters, we are not to overlook differences.
We are to strive to have the same mind on such matters, realizing that there is
only one body, Spirit, hope, Lord, faith, baptism, and God.
Membership in the Lord’s church is a great blessing. With great blessings
come great responsibilities.
If I have identified myself as a member of a local church, I have a
1. Be here for every service.
2. Receive the Word.
3. Contribute my money, time and talents.
4. Promote the peace and unity of the local church.