There are multitudes of people who believe in the person and works of Jesus Christ, but some are still wondering whether or not it is essential to become a member of a faithful local church. You can even find many people who have raised their eyebrows when hearing about the concept of joining or becoming a member of a local church. But what does the Bible say about this? What does the Bible say about joining a local church? Regardless of what you call it, be it a church partnership or membership, the Bible, specifically the New Testament, assumes some form of commitment and accountability of belonging to an institution that Jesus Christ has established, and that is the Church.
The New Testament has mentioned a definite place of local belonging several times and that the Christian must be baptized and become a part of a local body. You can find many churches in your area, and church options have become more diverse. To understand the importance of joining a local church and distinguishing the true churches of Christ from the false ones, we need to read what the Bible has to say about this issue. Joining a church, becoming a member, and getting involved in a local congregation are the most crucial proofs that one has obtained salvation and experienced God’s saving grace. And we find such truth in Hebrews 10:25.
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 (NLT) The context of this Biblical passage is simple―meeting together as a body is a command from God, written in the Holy Bible. Now, if we truly love the Lord Jesus Christ, then we must make sure that we keep His commandments (John 14:15). If we are to become obedient to Christ and His commandments, then we must join a local meeting or gathering of saints, and that is the Church.
(Acts 20:28 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood[a]—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.[b]) tells us, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” (ESV) The passage says that we are to “care for the church.” And how can we provide care for the Church of God if we do not attend the gathering of our brothers and sisters? Keep in mind that Jesus Christ laid down His life for the Church. There is this parallel between the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ for the Church and marriage. If Jesus Christ loved the Church enough to lay down His own precious life for her, how can we reject the gathering with other believers? To put it simply, a Christian is someone who loves and cares for the Church of Christ.
One can say that they have understood the love of Christ towards His Church if they know the value of joining a church. This should motivate and inspire us to go out and meet with other saints. Gathering with the saints or joining a church is an opportunity to extend our love and care to the flock of Christ. Besides becoming obedient children of God, we are also reaping great benefits and rewards if we join and attend a church gathering. The truth is that avoiding the Church exposes us to the devil’s schemes and devices. It is the Church of Christ where we receive the protection and support essential to growing and developing into mature Christians (Ephesians 4:13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.).
Why Join a Church?
Relying on video or audio sermons can provide spiritual nourishment, but it only provides one element of a well-balanced spiritual diet. It is true that listening to online media or resources can provide us with more information about the knowledge and wisdom of God, but you need more than Biblical theology. You need your brothers, sisters, preachers, and pastors to support you. You need a pastor, brothers, and sisters who personally can give you pieces of advice, exhortations, and instructions.
It is also important to note that sanctification is a community goal. We need our brothers and sisters with us if we are to fight sin. Mature saints are to help immature saints. The young believers need older believers. And the old believers can learn from young believers as well. Women ministries are also very important. In 1 Timothy 4:16, we can hear Paul exhorting Timothy to guard over his life and doctrine. The Church also acts as our defensive walls. Our beliefs, lives, and even doctrines are safer when we are inside the Church with someone ready to guide us, and that is our Pastor.
The Church is also a place for accountability, discipline, fellowship, and encouragement. The Bible tells us how important discipline is in our Christian lives (Matthew 18:15-18). Christians are also commanded to encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.). This is only made possible if we fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Is joining a church necessary? Yes, and it is for the glory of God and for your good.