We sometimes talk about “placing membership”. There are many who don’t know what this is all about, some who don’t have any idea how to do it and others who don’t see the need. Perhaps, we have been negligent in our teaching concerning this matter. So, let me mention a few points from the Bible.
First, we are not talking about placing membership in the church but in a local congregation. God adds the saved to the church (Acts 2:41, 47). Every Christian is a member of the one body of Christ, the church (1 Cor. 12:12-14; Rom. 12:4-5). The one church is made up of many different local churches of Christ (Acts 8:1; 9:31; 13:1; 14:23; Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 1:2; 4:17; 14:33; 16:19; Gal. 1:2; Col. 4:15-16; 1 The. 1:1; Rev. 1:11). Placing membership is seeking to become a member of a local church.
Second, there is no specific method by which we must place membership but it could be done in several ways. One brother who is well known by the local brethren may orally introduce the brother not so well known (Gal. 1:21-22; Acts 9:26-27). One mutually recognized brother may write a letter of introduction to brethren about one with whom they yet may not be familiar (Col. 4:10; Rom. 16:1-2). Several brethren may write a letter commending the faith of another (Acts 18:27). One who is a stranger may present himself before a local congregation and by self-commendation ask to be received into the fellowship of that group (2 Cor. 3:1-2). Placing membership is accomplished when a Christian makes known his desire to do so and is accepted by the congregation.
Third, placing membership is not an option but important and necessary for the Christian. It is to place oneself under the rule and care of the local church leadership (Acts 20:28-30; 1 The. 5:12-13; Heb. 13:17; 1 Pet. 5:1-3). It is to accept and fulfill one’s God given responsibility to the local church, as well as to be a recipient of the benefits of being a member of the congregation (Acts 2:42-47; 1 Cor. 5; 11:17-34; 14; 16:1-3; Phi. 4:14-16; Heb. 10:24-25). Placing membership is vital to every member of the Lord’s church.
If you have been saved by Christ, then you have been added to His church. You are a member of the church of Christ, but have you placed membership with a local congregation?
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135