CHURCH MEMBERSHIP IN THE BIBLE
NOTE: The Scripture references are hyper-linked to an online Bible so that they are more accessible for you to read - just hover over the reference and it will be displayed in full.
When we look to Scripture, we see the church functioning as groups of believers devoted in fellowship to one another [Acts 2:42], in local assemblies [1 Cor 1:2] [Col 1:2] [1 Thess 1:1-2], under the loving care and instruction of biblically qualified elders and deacons [Acts 20:28] [Phil 1:1] [1 Pet 5:2-3] [Heb 13:7]. The word translated as 'fellowship' in the New Testament is the Greek word koinonia, which speaks of joint participation and community. God intends believers to know, and be known in the local church, within mutually submissive, inter-dependent, accountable and meaningful relationships [Eph 5:21] [1 Cor 12:21] [Heb 10:24-25] [1 Thess 5:11]. Our corporate fellowship is simply an expression of this. However, these kinds of relationships cannot function effectively when believers drift from church to church or attend only occasionally as “long term” visitors with no intention to commit to a church family. In light of these things, we believe the pattern in Scripture is that of believers not just "going" to a church, but rather "belonging" to a church.
Since the church is made up of God's people, membership simply describes the commitment believers are to have towards their brothers and sisters in the local church as they seek to carry out the "one anothers" in Scripture, and as they are equipped for the work of ministry, each doing their share [Eph 4:11-16]. Those who lead in the church need to know who they are accountable for, and those they are accountable for need to know who their leaders are [Heb 13:17]. Additionally, without a meaningful church membership, a local church cannot protect its members through the practice of loving and patient church discipline in the event that this is required [Matt 18:15-17] [1 Cor 5].
In conclusion, although church membership is not specifically commanded in Scripture, we believe it is strongly implied, for good and beneficial reasons. This is why we have a formal church membership here at CBC.
MEMBERSHIP AT CBC
On any given Sunday, our congregation will be made up of members, those who are considering membership, and visitors. As stated above, we believe that belonging to a local church is not optional for believers, but an essential component of our Christian walk. We recognise it takes some time for people to get a feel for the fellowship, the teaching, and whether or not they see the potential of connecting with other believers on more than just a surface level.
Our desire is to provide transparency and clarity about who we are as a church, so that prospective members can make an informed decision about whether CBC is the right church for them. If you are new to CBC, we encourage you to take your time to get to know the people, the leaders, and what we are about as a church, before deciding if you want to pursue membership.
We would also encourage you to read our Vision & Mission (Why We Exist / What We Do), Doctrinal Statement (What We Believe & Teach), & Core Values (Guiding Principles & Practices) and also to read/watch/listen to any other articles or teachings that will help you to get to know more about how we function as a church (see videos on the right of this page).
Please click here for a recommended list of articles/teachings related to membership at CBC. [COMING SOON]
If you have any questions, please feel free to talk to any of the leaders, or existing members of the church. We would be happy to arrange a time to meet with you/your family if this would be helpful - otherwise please feel free to chat to us on a Sunday. See the next section below for more about how to become a member of Community Bible Church.
BECOMING A MEMBER OF CBC
If you/your family have been attending CBC long enough to get to know who we are, what we're about, and are interested in pursuing membership, here's an outline of the process:
CBC MEMBERSHIP REQUIREMENTS
There are just 4 requirements for a person to become a member of Community Bible Church:
1. That you are a born-again, baptised believer, having repented and placed your trust in Christ alone for salvation.
NOTE: For families, this refers to the adults in the family who are living in the same household and who desire to become members.
2. That you are in support of CBC’s vision and mission listed below and accept this as the biblical basis for our purpose and function as a church.
THE VISION OF CBC (why we exist as a church)
To wholeheartedly love God and genuinely love others.
THE MISSION OF CBC (what we do as a church to fulfill our vision)
3. That you have read, understand and are in substantial agreement with our Doctrinal Statement (What We Believe & Teach) & Core Values (Guiding Principles & Practices) and accept that our teaching/doctrines/practice will be in line with these.
NOTE: If there are parts of our statement of faith that you are undecided about, or do not agree with, please let us know. Whilst some components of our doctrine are essential to the faith, we recognise and accept that not all prospective members would have formed a conviction on all points, and also that in secondary issues such as eschatology, there is room for differing views. For more information please watch the message, “CBC – What We Believe & Teach” on the right side of this page.
4. That you are willing to commit to regular fellowship with the CBC family each Lord’s Day under the loving care and instruction of the elders and deacons, for the purpose of being equipped for ministry within the local church.
NOTE: In using the term “regular” we are speaking of a consistency in attendance, not just to “tick the box”, but to allow members to practically love, serve, and support one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. We recognise there will be exceptions to regular attendance such as sickness, holidays/being out of town, crisis, essential work etc. It is assumed that a member of CBC has taken the time to acquaint themselves with the existing leadership, and is therefore comfortable being under their care, protection and guidance, in accordance with God's Word. It is also assumed that a member has a desire to grow, and to serve God's people.
What is Expected as a Member of the Local Church:
The following is a list of what we believe to be some of the key biblical expectations for a member of a local church. For these characteristics to be genuine, they must be inwardly motivated, out of a love for the Lord, and are therefore not seen as our church’s expectations, but rather that which the Lord expects of all believers in the Body of Christ. As we seek by God’s grace and patience to live more in line with His Word, we should desire these characteristics to be evident in our lives.
What You Can Expect from the Leadership at CBC:
Once a person/family have become members of CBC, here are some of the expectations you can have of the eldership, who are accountable to God to lead, feed, care for and protect the members of the church, with the assistance of the deacons who serve in practical roles of oversight and administration.
The Priority of the Local Church - Part 1
The Priority of the Local Church - Part 2
The Vision and Mission of CBC
CBC - What We Believe and Teach