A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.
Why local church membership?
Formalized membership is necessary because there are specific Scriptural benefits and responsibilities of belonging to a local church. As a community, to appropriate those benefits and responsibilities, we must know who is a member and who is not.
Benefits of local church membership:
According to the Bible, the church is like a family (1 Tim. 3:15), a body (1 Cor. 12) and a bride (Eph. 5:22-23). God safeguards us from being mislead by deceitful doctrines by connecting us to the larger work of God through history and in the world today by the means of the local church (Eph. 3:10).
Being remade into the image of Jesus, otherwise known as sanctification, is a gift from God, just like our salvation and is not a product of our effort (Rom. 8:29). God has given believers his Holy Spirit, the Bible, and each other to test and train up one another to love him, each other, and the world in ever increasing measure (Eph. 5:21).
Physical and Spiritual Care
Members have the benefit of having physical and spiritual needs attended to by each other based on Biblical criterion (e.g. 1 Tim. 5:3-16; Rom. 12:10) and originating from Jesus giving himself for us (cf. John 13:34; 1 John 3:11).
Responsibilities of local church membership:
The ultimate authority for the community of believers is the Bible. The working out of its truth occurs within the local church body. Jesus gives clear directives to the church to assist each other in working out their salvation at the one-one level, the small group level, and the congregational level (Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5:13). In this way, members preserve the doctrinal integrity of the local church through the local application of the truth found in the Bible.
Church leaders in the New Testament (elders and deacons) are selected from among the members of the local assembling of believers (Acts 6:3, Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5) and are to be affirmed, supported, submitted to, and held accountable by local members (1 Tim. 5:17-25; Heb. 13:17).
The physical and spiritual care of the members comes from the members time, talents, and treasure (1 Cor. 12:4-11). These elements are to be used for church administration, the care of the poor, and the preaching of the gospel and are the concern and responsibility of members of the local church (e.g. Acts 6:2; Phil. 4:15).
If you wish to be a member of Pillar Church of Woodlawn, you must have given public testimony, by baptism (Acts 2:38), to the fact that, through faith in Jesus Christ, you repent of your sins and believe the Gospel alone for your salvation (Rom. 10:9).
In addition, we ask that you:
1) attend a Family Life Membership Exploration Class,
2) complete a personal interview with a church leader,
3) and publicly covenant with current members.
If you have questions about membership email us at [email protected].