• It is part of what identifies individuals as genuine followers of Christ.  (Eph. 2:19, Rom. 12:5)
  • It provides you a spiritual family that can support, encourage, and care for you in your walk with Christ. (Gal. 6:1-2, Heb. 10:24-25, 1 Cor. 12:26-27)
  • It places you under the spiritual protection of Godly leaders. (Heb. 13:17, Acts 20:28-29, 1 Pet. 5:5)
  • It gives you a place to discover and use your gifts that the Lord has entrusted you with for ministry. (1 Cor. 12:4-27)

When an individual is saved, he becomes a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). Because he is united to Christ and the other members of the body in this way, he is therefore qualified to become a member of a local expression of that body.
To become a member of a church is to formally commit oneself to an identifiable, local body of believers who have joined together for specific, divinely ordained purposes. These purposes include receiving instruction from God’s Word (1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2), serving and edifying one another through the proper use of spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-31; 1 Pet. 4:10-11), participating in the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42), and proclaiming the Gospel to those who are lost (Matt. 28:18- 20). In addition, when one becomes a member of a church, he submits himself to the care and the authority of the biblically qualified elders that God has placed in that assembly.
We believe that church membership is a covenant between a local church and a Christian that consists of…
The church’s affirmation of the Christian’s Gospel profession
By extending church membership to an individual, the church is saying, “We recognize your profession of faith, baptism, and discipleship to Christ as valid. Therefore, we publicly affirm and acknowledge you as belonging to Christ and the oversight of our fellowship.”
The church’s promise to give oversight to the Christian’s discipleship
This comes through teaching, preaching, church council oversight, and the mutual building up which all members of the church are to engage in (Eph 4:11-16).

The Christian’s promise to gather with the church and submit to its oversight
By committing to a church through membership, an individual Christian is saying, “I recognize you as a faithful, Gospel-declaring church. Therefore, I promise to regularly gather with this church and to submit to its authority and teaching.”
Hebrews 13:17 states that Christians are to “obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” If there is no membership, which leaders should a Christian submit to? Do Christians have to submit to anyone with the title “elder” from any church? We believe that membership provides the direction for which leaders the members should submit to, and why.

Acts 20:28 says to church elders, “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.” If there is no membership, for whom will the church leaders give an account? Will church leaders of Grace Community Baptist Church be held accountable for all Christians in south Oklahoma City, or for the members of churches that Grace Community Baptist Church has theological differences with? We believe that membership defines the scope of authority and accountability for local church leaders.

1 Corinthians 5:12-13 states that Christians are not to judge the morality of those outside the church, but rather are to judge those inside the church, and remove unrepentant immoral members from fellowship if needed. How is being outside or inside the church definable if there is no such thing as membership? How can you remove someone if they aren’t “in” to begin with? We believe that membership provides a proper context for making moral assessments and decisions about members’ conduct and character.
Matthew 18:15-17 states that when a brother sins against you and does not listen or respond even after multiple witnesses address his fault, you are to involve the church. Without membership, who constitutes “the church,” and who decides when someone is to be treated as an outsider (“a Gentile and a tax collector,” v. 17) and lovingly called back to repentance? We believe that membership provides a clear process and path for care, correction, and restoration when a member is caught in sin.