We have just recently launched our congregational membership. We wrote the content on this page to help explain our perspective on the value of membership and the biblical basis behind it. In addition, Mark recently preached a 4-part series on what membership means at Kehilat Yeshua. If you have any questions about our approach to membership, please feel free to talk to Pastor Mark and Judy. And if you would like to download our membership forms, please click here.
Mishpacha means family. And a faith community, at its core, should be a type of family.
Membership is one of the most powerful ways that you will be able to plug into and invest in Kehilat Yeshua. Becoming a member says that you throw your lot in with us, joining with us in our mission and vision, and standing alongside us in faith. That you're part of this family.
Committing yourself to a local shul is a big step. We take that commitment seriously and want you to feel comfortable in that process. We believe that it is valuable and biblical to belong to and be invested in a specific local body of believers.
What does it mean to be a “member” of Kehilat Yeshua?
A member is a vital part of a whole unit. In Scripture, we see that believers are referred to as the “body of Messiah.” But we also see that while there is the large body of Messiah, comprised of His disciples all over the world, there were also smaller bodies in cities all over the known world at that time. Each smaller body had leadership and structure enabling growth, accountability, etc.
By becoming a member of Kehilat Yeshua, you are saying that you are committing to our community: choosing to build relationships here, investing in our shared future, and putting yourself in accountability as a member of our community.
Members share the responsibility of caring for our congregation, because we embrace it as our own. We attend faithfully so that we can know and care for each other. We pray for each other. We serve each other within the context of community life and on a personal level. We invest in the community with our time and finances.
As a member, you also have the ability to vote on business affairs, such as financial council members and large purchases (real estate, etc.). You have first consideration in benevolence funds. You are also eligible to serve our congregation in positions of leadership, including on our financial council.
How do I become a member of Kehilat Yeshua?
To become a member, you need to fill out a membership form, which includes agreeing with our Statement of Faith and stating your desire to be a member of Kehilat and committing to support and invest in Kehilat Yeshua with your time, talents, and treasures. To get a membership form, please see Pastor Mark or Judy.
What does membership at Kehilat Yeshua look like?
As a member of Kehilat Yeshua, you will be an integral part of a young, growing Messianic community. A congregation is a special place because it nurtures three things that believers in Messiah – Jewish and Gentile – have sought for themselves and their families, three things that infuse life with a sense of meaning and fulfillment: worship, growth, and community. As a member of Kehilat, we will always encourage you in those three areas. We will encourage you to worship HaShem and grow closer in your walk with Him. We will encourage you to grow as a believer in maturity and faith. And we will encourage you to become connected to community.
What we will not do is micromanage your faith. We won't tell you what level of kosher you should keep or what is permitted on Shabbat. We will not criticize you for your journey or where you are on it. We do not use guilt to coerce.
We believe that membership in your faith community should feel like the natural next step once you get settled in. And it should be a safe step, one you are excited about to take. If you have any questions or concerns about membership, we encourage you to talk personally with someone in our leadership.
Is congregational membership a biblical principle?
You may already realize that congregational membership is not explicitly mentioned in Scripture. For some, this gives them pause and causes them to reconsider membership. And taking pause to truly understand any major decision you make is a good thing - it shows wisdom and maturity.
We strongly believe that while congregational membership isn't explicitly discussed in Scripture, it is very strongly alluded to. There are many times throughout the epistles that congregational matters are discussed and handled in a way that necessitates formal membership. There are truths and responsibilities that would be minimized or denied without definable local membership to a body of believers.
Let's take a look at a few of those, and what they mean for us today.
1 Corinthians 5:12-13 - "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. 'Purge the evil person from among you.'”
This passage from Rabbi Shaul makes it pretty clear that one's inclusion in the church is definable and with boundaries. If someone can be excluded, they had to first be included. The passage isn't referring to salvation - membership in the greater body of Messiah - it is referring to membership in a specific body of believers.
1 Peter 5:2-3 - "Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock."
Acts 20:28 - "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God."
In these passages from the apostles Peter and Shaul, it shows us that elders knew for whom they were to be responsible. It isn't logical that an elder is expected to be responsible for every person who walks through the doors of their service or lives in their town - the only way to properly walk out this verse is through a defined body.
Hebrews 13:17 - "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you."
How does one define what leader they are to be responsible to? If you live in Boise, are you responsible to every pastor or elder in Boise? What about every pastor or elder you have a relationship with? Again, in order for this verse to make sense it would need the context of a defined local community.
1 Corinthians 5:4-5 - "When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
In this passage, Rabbi Shaul is speaking of the metting out of congregational discipline. There is a specific body of people assembled at this time. Would it make sense that any random person (even any random believer) could be a part of this assemby, handling discipline? We should note that there was a definite and formal assembly of people, and they knew to gather to handle the situation.
2 Corinthians 2:6-7 - "For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him."
Here we see Shaul speaking of a majority voting on congregational discipline. This is a fairly strong argument for some kind of formal membership, as that would be the only way to assure there was indeed a majority.
Let's conclude this list by saying that even the term "member" comes from 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14, where Rabbi Shaul speaks of the body of Messiah. The local bodies of believers - not just the global body - are themselves bodies with members. The reason we know this is because while in Ephesians 1 and Colossians, Shaul speaks about Messiah Yeshua as the head of the body, in 1 Corinthians he speaks of a head that has ears and eyes that are members of the body. Membership to your local body of believer is a biblical concept, and one we should feel comfortable with - and excited about - embracing.