Is there a biblical requirement to be a member of a local church?
TWO QUESTIONS FROM HEBREWS 13:17...
First, if there is no biblical requirement to belong a local church, then which leaders should an individual Christian obey and submit to? Second, who will a pastor give an account for?
Regarding the first question, the Scriptures clearly command Christians to submit to and honor an elder body (Heb. 13:17, 1 Tim. 5:17). If there is no understanding of local church membership, then who are we to submit to and obey? Is it anyone with the title “elder” from any church? Should you as a Christian obey and submit to the pastor at Westboro Baptist and picket soldier funerals? Hopefully, we can agree that the Bible instructs us to submit to specific leadership, not just any "leader".
Regarding the second question, the Scriptures clearly command an elder body to care for specific people (1 Pet. 5:1-5; also, Acts 20:29-30). Will a pastor/elder be held accountable for all the Christians in their locality whether they know them or not? How does a pastor know who to he is accountable for if there is no local membership?
We believe there is clear description of local church membership given in the New Testament. We also believe, that living out a large portion of the instruction given us, is only possible within a local church membership.