Is membership necessary?
Membership at Restore is not necessary, nor do we believe that it is absolutely necessary for all Christians. At Restore, you will be enfolded into the family, loved as part of the community, you will be ministered to and you will be able to minister to others. Whether you are visiting, or you call Restore your church home, we love you and don't make any distinction in how we treat one another. That said, we do believe that becoming a Covenant Member is a wise and biblically encouraged step.
First, because the New Testament makes no distinction between those who are "Christians" and those who are members of a local church. To be a Christian meant that you were in community with others and that you were united under a local leadership. Practically speaking, our invitation into the new family of God will bring with it difficulties that we will need the church family to help us through, and it will raise questions that we need leaders to help us answer.
Second, we believe that it is a wise and encouraged step because accountability requires permission. In the New Testament, the Apostles often encourage leaders in the church to care for the church of God, or to exercise oversight over the church, as well as for members of the church to hold one another accountable to the ways of God. Two important questions are raised: who is the church?, and, how are they held accountable? "Accountability" and "church" (defined as a gathering of believers) go hand in hand, so that being part of the church is also to be willing to be held accountable. Becoming a covenant member "gives permission" for that type of accountability.
We believe that the best way to identify who the "church" is in our context is to give people the opportunity to affirm their commitment to one another (so they can hold one another accountable) and affirm their commitment to church leadership (so that the leadership can properly exercise oversight). This accountability goes both ways, as well. The church member who has affirmed their commitment is required, biblically, to hold leadership in the church accountable to carrying out their charge. This formal, two-way accountability works best when both parties know who the other one is. It's essential for the leadership to know who has requested their oversight and who will hold them accountable to it; it's essential for the members at large to know who God has given leadership to within the church.