And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Notice that there is ONE church and it belongs to Jesus. What burdens me is I hear "churches" request membership to be part of "their church." I do not believe God intended for believers to literally separate themselves among their own assembly.
I note how some promote reasons for membership. I get some significance for it but by doing this, I sincerely restrict any assembly to itself. It isn't about "ABC church" or XYZ church or First Assembly of MRS of <City or Town>. It is solely about Jesus and glorifying HIM through His Body.
Granted, I have no idea if He is disheartened over different denominations and beliefs, though some are so out of reach, it would be embarrassing to call it "Christian." What is heartbreaking is how we seem to be in competition for numbers, regardless of doctrine or salvation. Churches are forced to make a name for themselves to get anyone who even hears the name Christ into their building.
Membership may give you a right to vote, though even that isn't Scriptural. We are not called to vote, as a democracy, for leadership, especially pastor. We cannot mix democratic or republic standards of government with a monarchy of Christianity. There is to be accountability among leaders and when there is none, you get up and leave. Let it fall without you in it.
We are all different parts of the Body. Nowhere in Scripture does it force it to be separate among other parts and work only among its circle of brethren. Nowhere in Scripture is any part of the Body relegated to those of the same. Even Paul warns in 1 Corinthians 12 about neglecting other parts of the Body, thinking they might not be needed, even due to size or importance. All who strive to follow Christ, from the unknown intercessors to the greatest preachers and the apostles of old hold the same ticket of salvation. We all belong to Him.
This isn't about competition or the size of our ministry. Many preach Jeremiah 29:11 but take it out of context because of translation. NIV and ESV talks of the "plans I have for you" and "to prosper" but the KJV speaks of the "thoughts I think toward you" and "having peace and an expected end." The words that are the most important isn't your boasting of your public ministry, it is how faithful you were with what God called you to be.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Churches were meant for assembly but not to be separate from other brethren. We were called as united and minister and pray for each other (James 5:15). Let's stop looking among four walls and see among the Body and see it all work and function for His glory. Maybe our mindset will change.