The idea of experiencing any spiritual blessings without belonging to a local church is foreign to the New Testament. It is absolutely essential that there should be proper church membership. And it is Biblical to have strong membership.
What is a church?
The English word ‘church’ is derived from the Greek. adjective kyriakos as used in some such phrase as kyriakon dōma or kyriakē oikia, meaning ‘the Lord’s house’, i.e. a Christian place of worship.
‘Church’ in the NT, however, renders Gk. ekklēsia, which mostly designates a local congregation of Christians. An ekklēsia was a meeting or assembly. Its commonest use was for the public assembly of citizens.
Church in the bible is always an identifiable local assemly of believers. We do not have a single verse in the Bible that says that the church is invisible. By definition itself that does not make sense. Because church is a gathering and how can there be a gathering that is invisible? Some times we do have the authors write about the church in a way that is general. But what is true of one church is true of the other churches as well.
How do you choose which church you should go to?
1 Corinthians 3:1–17
1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
Requirements for church membership
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
- Believe the gospel