Is Church Membership Necessary for the Christian Life?

I find myself in more and more conversations with people who profess to be Christians and yet do not belong to Christian churches. They will usually reason something like this: “I am a member of the kingdom, but I will never belong to a church.” Or this one: “I worship God everyday. I don’t need to be a part of a church. I have fellowship with my Christian friends.” Of course I am not surprised by such statements. They are becoming more common in an anti-institutional, anti-authority loving culture. Yet some anti-church membership sentiments stem from the pain of being hurt by carnal church leaders or from belonging to false authoritarian churches or simply from never having belonged to a healthy church to begin with. Others have come to believe that the whole enterprise of “church” is corrupt so they avoid it altogether. This problem is compounded by the fact that many churches in modern-day America do not practice church membership. These churches have no clear accountability structure. People can come and go as they please, no questions asked. The membership-less church is a kind of event that happens each week at a certain location. People show up but with no sense of corporate identity regarding who they are and who they are not. I do not say that as a critique at this point; it simply is what it is. Continue reading “Is Church Membership Necessary for the Christian Life?”