When I hear the word “membership” I automatically think of sales reps in swanky gyms wearing track suits trying to sell me a gym membership that is more than I can afford and something I will inevitably cease to use. It smacks of insincerity. We all have different associations with the word and the challenge for most of us who are postmodern or “post-postmodern” in our upbringing is caution, if not skepticism, of all labels and camps. Hence when we attach membership to our notion of church it brings up all sorts of red flags. Various academics speculate that it is for this very reason that church membership is declining.
The value of church membership is contested, as well as the theological or scriptural basis for such a notion. There are polarizing positions of rejection or acceptance and, of course, there are others who try to mediate a middle ground.