You are called to belong, not just believe.
Even in the perfect, sinless environment of Eden, God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18 NIV).
We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship, and formed for a family, and none of us can fulfill God’s purposes by ourselves. The Bible knows nothing of solitary saints or spiritual hermits.
While your relationship to Christ is personal, God never intends it to be private. In God’s family you are connected to every other believer. The Bible says, “In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others” (Romans 12:5 NIV).
Following Christ includes belonging, not just believing. British author and theologian C.S. Lewis noted that the word membership is of Christian origin, but the world has emptied it of its original meaning. Stores offer discounts to “members,” and advertisers use member names to create mailing lists. In churches, membership is often reduced to simply adding your name to a roll, with no requirements or expectations.
To Paul, being a “member” of the church meant being a vital organ of a living body, an indispensable, interconnected part of the body of Christ. We need to recover and practice the biblical meaning of membership. The church is a body, not a building, and an organism, not an organization—truths we encounter in such Scriptures as Romans 12:4-5, 1 Corinthians 6:15, and 1 Corinthians 12:12-27.