If you are a Christian, you probably know you should go to church. After all, the first Christians were devoted to getting together (Acts 2:42), and the book of Hebrews actually tells us plainly that we are not to be “neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb. 10:25). We are supposed to go to church. But join one... where is that in the Bible?
Well, the honest answer is that church membership is nowhere commanded, but everywhere implied. In fact, there are several New Testament commands that can’t be obeyed unless you join a church.
The New Testament letter to the Hebrews says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Heb 13:17). If you don’t join a church, how do you know who your leaders are? Are they the leaders of the churches nearest to your house? Are they the leaders of the last church you attended? Apparently, Jesus thinks you should obey a group of leaders and you are supposed to know who they are. Do you?
Not only that, but apparently a group of leaders is supposed to be watching over your soul. A particular group of leaders is supposed to be getting great joy from your life? Which leaders are those? You might watch a TV preacher but he cannot faithfully “watch over” you. The Bible wants you to be in a relationship with one local church where you know the leaders and the leaders can know you. That can’t happen unless you commit to a local church.
Now you might be thinking, "Who wants to be held accountable by a congregation?" Well you should, because that is what Jesus desires for you. In Matthew 18, Jesus gives us a look at what church life should look like, and one of the things he shows us is that it is characterized by loving accountability. He tells us that when someone sins against us, we should confront them in love. When they keep sinning, we should keep pursuing. And when they refuse to listen, he says, “tell it to the church” (Matt. 18:17).
In our individualistic age, that may initially sound terrible. However, when you have come to see how prone you are to wander from Jesus, it is a wonderful gift to have a church that would lovingly come after you. If you ever wandered from the Lord, which church would care for your soul? If you ever had to pursue another Christian, which church would you eventually tell? If you can’t answer these questions, you need to join a church.
The Christian life is not a life of mere acquaintances—it is a life of living like a family in the context of a local church. The Christian life is a life of joyful love. It is a life of learning to walk like Jesus in, “all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:2–3). Who have you agreed to bear with, even when they are struggling with sin? Who has agreed to bear with you in all of your struggles? If you can’t answer that, you need to join a church.
Complete the online membership application (hard copies are available in the main office by request). If applicable, Immanuel’s receptionist will request a reference from the church where you are currently a member.
Once your reference is received, the receptionist will contact you to set up a membership interview with an Immanuel pastor.
Introducing Immanuel is the best way to learn about who we are as a body of believers. All sessions of Introducing Immanuel are required for membership and can be completed at any point in the process. For the next scheduled class, click here.
After fulfilling the three steps above, you’ll make vows before the congregation, even as they make vows to you. Members are voted in at the beginning of our bi-monthly Members Meetings. You can access the membership vows here.