Why church membership? Is it scriptural, Biblical? Wow, how in the world am I going to answer that question! Why am I even asking? (Facebook, of course!)
Let me preface ALL of this by saying, I hate it when Christians bash Christians, when Christians put down the body of Christ. I can't stand it. It a l m o s t makes me angry. I'm not coming down on my close friend who takes the non-commital stance, but I am coming down on the implications.
If there was no local church, where would we deposit our gifts, and I'm not speaking monitarily either. Where would we be stirred? Where would we stir others up? What about accountability, both personally and theologically? What about intercession for someone you've been walking with for a long time? What about committing to a local body like you have your own marriage: for better or for worse? Or worser still! (Time to smile, folks.) We know the scriptures about not forsaking the assemblying of ourselves together, we know about each one coming with a hymn, a song, a word, etc.
What about the benefits of finding a group of people with like minds and vision and passion. Not everyone belongs where I attend. Not everyone has a passion for the nations in such an in your face kind of way as Covenant of Grace. (I wouldn't change it a bit!) It's inconvenient, it's a sacrifice, but it's the beautiful body and bride of Christ ministering to each other, to the Lord, and it truly is beautiful!
The scripture talks about the body being fittly joined together by that which every joint supplies. So when someone avoids coming through the door because they don't want to be trapped, the place you may have committed to is missing out, 'cause God made you to be a blessing. Second, YOU'RE missing out. God has blessings that will come your way through a local fellowship of mutual love and commitment. I see it as a way to mobilize the body. Every church has a DNA, and you should be a part of one that matches YOUR DNA.
Sign a paper? Maybe not necessary. But I have a testimony on that, and I am personally convinced that if you WANT to align with a church who asks that you do "sign", and you don't do it, and you want to still minister under their convering? I can personally say you will never be released to do so completely until you "sign." Throw me out, call me a heretic, but I am telling you this was my own experience. It simply didn't work. The beautiful part was when I did officially join I continued to minister, and subsequently experienced a greater release than I ever had before in my area of ministry. Once I honored their policy and came in the front door, so to speak, it was just a greater place of blessing and favor.
It's also a way to systematically and regularly support those Pastors etc., who are called, and many of them trained, to teach God's Word as their sole occupation. It allows a church to plan, cast a vision, know their sheep, and walk that vision out with like minded individuals. I could write for days on this topic, but lest it take a tone other than complete love, I shall not do so.
The above being said, while I am all about Church membership, I'm mostly all about Christ. In these days and times should the church have to go in hiding, I'm loving Jesus all the way, documents or no documents! I know that HE is the point of our existence, and giving Him glory at every turn remains our purpose. Perhaps this post is just for me to state my position, and perhaps it resonates with you, or, makes you hoppin' mad! (I sure hope not.) I love you all, and I'll look forward to hearing back, either way.
I have not included any scripture passages in this post, but can do so by way of comments if someone wishes to have those listed.