The Church is not a building, but a group of people.

1 Corinthians 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called [to be] saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

There are various forms of church membership traditions. For some congregations, there is no formal membership, per se, but you are considered a member because this is where you attend. At the other end of the spectrum, for some church groups, there are very strict requirements to become, and remain, a member.

Romans 12:5 So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

1 Corinthians 12:25-27
25 There should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Every time the word “member” is used in the Bible, it is referring to a part of the body. When the Bible mentions church membership, it is used as an analogy, comparing The Church with The Body of Christ to picture the various roles that each person fills. We are each unique, yet we are all working together towards the same cause. Many of the physical actions of God on Earth are done by The Body of Christ, that is, Christians. Individual Christians make up The Church as a whole, with Christ as The Head. The Church is the Body of Christ and every Christian is a member.

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.

In the Bible, there is no use of the terms “member” or “membership” in reference to those who have joined a local congregation. Maybe such a concept is useful in some ways, maybe not. It would be much better if a word other than “member” was used, since that one is already used in a distinct way by Scripture. There are some other possible words that could be used for this, if needed, such as congregant, attendee, fellow, or affiliate. Or possibly some variant of the word “brethren” could be used.

Matthew 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren.

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