Friday, August 30, 2013

Biblical Church Leadership Part 3: Member

Today is the third and final post on biblical church leadership. Monday, I looked at the first office of biblical church leadership in that of an elder. Wednesday, I looked at the second office of biblical church leadership in that of a deacon. Today, I will look at the third office or  role in that of a church member, which is not a specific leadership role such as elder and deacon, but each member does have an important role to play within the body of Christ.

Some people and churches are not sure about the idea of membership, but the concept of a "member" or "membership" is seen throughout the Bible. And just as we are members of our physical family by birth, we are to be members of our spiritual family through our second birth.


A simple definition of a church member is one who loves Jesus, loves the church, and wants to share the love of Jesus with the world through the church. The church where I am a member has a mission statement similar to this: Love God, Love Each Other, Love Our World.

The Bible speaks of church membership in relational terms as members of one body and members of the household of God - living in community (Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 2:18-19; 3:6; 4:25; 5:29-30).


  • Participates in the community and mission of the church
  • Invest passions, service, resources, and forms relationships for good of the Kingdom
  • Actively involved in ministry, worship, fellowship, etc. for the mission of the church
  • Generous with giving of time, money, and resources

A baptized follower of Jesus. This point can be a bit controversial, but baptism is a first sign of obedience to Christ and the minimum requirement should be that one get baptized in becoming a member of the body. Most new church starts will not have a formal written out membership covenant, but it is something to consider as the church grows and matures.

The other two biblical church leadership offices, elder and deacon, come from within the body or from the church members. Another important role within the church that is also from a member is a treasurer. Although the treasurer is not a specific laid out office it does follow the pattern and leadership of Jesus as he traveled with the disciples. Jesus was accused of many things, but he was never accused of mishandling money. Why? Because Jesus had a treasurer.


  • Protect church leadership from accusation
  • To be transparent in all dealings
  • Accountable through bookkeepings and witnesses

There is no detailed list given, but one can assume similar qualifications to that of an elder and deacon. In some ways the qualifications given for elders and deacons are lists given for all believers to attain in character. Will these qualifications be evident overnight? No, that is part of the sanctification and discipleship process. As disciples are made and transformation takes place, more and more of these qualifications will become evident. So the responsibility and duty of a church member is the same of a Christian, but in the case of a church member, tied into with a local community of believers, the church.


This post is adapted from a recent teaching on biblical church leadership conducted with a group of S. Asian church planters. Four main resources were used in preparation for this teaching: The ESV Study Bible, Danny Akin's A Theology for the Church, Mark Driscoll's Doctrine: What Every Christian Should Believe, and Nathan Shank's Four Fields of Kingdom Growth.

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