Why Church Membership?

Eastside Baptist Church has a formal process for entering into church membership. This pamphlet is written to help you to understand this process.

Why do you have a formal church membership?

We have a formal church membership because of what the Bible teaches about the nature of the church and of being a Christian.  We believe that a formal church membership is the best way of implementing that vision practically, so that we can be the kind of church community Jesus wants us to be.

Where is formal church membership found in the Bible?

Here are some Biblical principles on which our church membership system is based:

  1. Individual Christians are expected to be part of a local church which is their spiritual home and community.  In Acts 2:47 Luke says “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”  Becoming a Christian meant joining the church.  Each church knew who was part of the church.
  • The Christian life is meant to be lived in community.  The NT community of people are deeply committed to each other (Eph. 4:2,3, Phil. 1:27, 1 Thess. 3:12), both in principle and in practice (Heb. 10:25).
  • In some places the church is compared to a household, in other places a temple building, in others a body, in others a family (Eph. 2:19-22, 1 Cor. 12:27, Gal 6:10).  Each of these pictures suggests that people are closely bound together and recognizably committed to each other.
  • The church is led by elders or pastors (1 Tim. 3:1-7).  The practical ministry of mercy and care is delegated to the deacons (Acts 6:1-6, 1 Tim. 3:8-13).  The leaders must know who their flock is, and to whom they must be responsible.  The church collectively in turn is responsible to choose their elders and deacons.  The church – all those who are formally identified with the church also have the duty to exercise church discipline of sinning members (Acts 6:5, Titus 1:5, Matt. 18:17, 2 Cor. 2:6).  How can this happen if people are not actually and visibly committed to one another?

We maintain that it is wise to enter into membership through a formal and solemn process, so that it is clear to everyone who is a member and who is not.

What difference would be being a member make to me?

  1. Being a member means you have taken a significant step of commitment to the local church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • It means that you will exercise your spiritual gift for the benefit of the church to the glory of God.
  • It means that you may take the love and support of your fellow church members who are committed to you in Christian love for granted.
  • It means that you are under the pastoral leadership, discipline and care of the pastors/elders.  They are committed to serving you, praying for you, promoting your spiritual health, holding you accountable and walking with you through tough times.
  • It means that you are able to take a part in decisions which shape the church’s direction, through the church meeting.

What difference would be being a member make to Eastside Baptist Church?

  1. A defined membership enables the leaders and other members know that you are committed to the church, in attendance, participation, prayer, serving and giving.
  • A defined membership provides a proper check and balance.  The elders of the church do not do all the work of the ministry.  God expects every member to be actively engaged in the ministry of the church.  To be a member also means to pray for the spiritual leaders and to hold them accountable to doctrinal and moral purity.
  • A defined membership facilitates proper church discipline.  It is not the task of the elders to remove persistent sinners from her midst.  It is the duty of the whole church. (Matt. 18:17, 1 Cor. 5:2)

Does it matter whether someone becomes a church member?

We think it does!  We have seen that the New Testament sees the church as a community of people who are committed to each other.  We are committed to Christ because He is committed to us.  We should be committed to each other as one of the most important expressions of being committed to Christ.  Although commitment may seem scary, there is actually something wonderful about being committed to a single local body of believers.  Not being willing to commit oneself to others falls short of God’s desire for His children to live in communities of committed and submitted love.

Only members who have clearly indicated that they are willing to submit to our church practice and doctrine will have the privilege at Eastside to be involved in spiritual ministry in our community.

Why is membership restricted to Christians who have been baptized as believers?

The church is seen as the community of the baptized.  In the New Testament, baptism is the sign of personal faith in Jesus, the Head of the church.  It is therefore also a sign of entry into His body, the church.  So, only those who have been baptized as believers can be members.  We do recognize that some Christians hold different views on this matter.  Those with such different convictions are welcome to come to attend our services, and to participate in our communion service.  We invite them to be a part of our home fellowships.  However, such Christians cannot become members, nor hold positions of any leadership or teaching in our church.  We would ask them to respect our church constitution and doctrinal beliefs.

If you would like to discuss baptism and membership, please contact the pastor or one of the elders.  We also have further reading material available if you should desire to study the Biblical doctrine of baptism and church membership in greater detail

In our church you will find…
  • A warm welcome extended to you by the leadership and all the church members.  It is a welcome from the heart!
  • Reverent, worshipful services where the Bible is believed and taught with evangelistic emphasis.
  • Various activities geared to nurture people in their spiritual growth – Bible Studies, Conferences etc.