We believe that being a member of a local church is a foundational part of the Christian life. Indeed, the Scriptures do not present to us a version of the Christian life that excludes the local church.

When someone believes the gospel and trusts in Jesus Christ, they immediately become a member of the universal Church (Ephesians 5:23-27). But then they should seek to become a member of a local church. This is the clear pattern we see in the New Testament. For example, consider Acts 2:41-47. All those who believed the gospel that Peter preached were first baptized, and then second, they were “added” to the local church at Jerusalem. Then, in verses 42-47, we see that the members of this local church were living the Christian life together. In verse 42, we read that they were especially devoted to gathering together to: (1) hear and obey the Word of God (2) fellowship (3) partake of the Lord’s Supper and (4) pray.

The Scriptures make clear that to be “added” or to “join” a local church is to be committed to an identifiable group of baptized believers who have covenanted with one another to live the Christian life together. They gather together to pray, sing, and hear God’s Word and teaching from God’s Word (Acts 2:42-47; Colossians 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:2). They participate in and partake of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:41-47). They practice church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5). They edify one another with their Spirit-given, spiritual gifts (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; 1 Peter 4:10-11). They stir one another up to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25). They walk in obedience to all the “one another” commands. They proclaim the gospel to the lost world around them and make disciples (Acts 8:4-13; Matthew 28:18-20). 

So, when we join a local church, we make visible our commitment to Christ and His people, we live the Christian life with a body of believers (which is according to Christ’s design), and in summary, we are walking in obedience to God’s Word.