Bible Answer

What does the Bible say about church membership requirements?

I currently belong to a Southern Baptist church but would like to move my membership to another Southern Baptist church. The new church requires me to pay $5.00 for a booklet, answer the questions inside, and attend a 1-2 hour class before becoming a registered member. What biblical advice could you give me on this matter?

The word of God places no requirements on stipulations how a Christian joins a specific body of believers, other than professing faith in Jesus Christ and taking water baptism by immersion. Therefore, you are under no obligation by God to participate in a particular church body, denomination or group, or to submit to a specific membership ritual or process. You are part of the body of Christ regardless of when and where you choose to congregate. 

On the other hand, if you feel called by God to become part of a certain church, then you are obligated to obey the authority of the elders over that church. Those men have authority to decide upon rules of order for their congregation, including rules for becoming a participating member of the church. So long as those rules do not contradict the Bible, they must be obeyed. 

So if you choose to fellowship in that church, you must obey the church's rules as a matter of submission to authority, including submitting to their membership process. If the process offends you or you feel you cannot submit to it, select another church.