The church is Christ’s institution in the NT era through which He is accomplishing corporate worship and ministry. Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, and the church is His body. Becoming a member of His church is a serious decision, and one that requires church authority for admission.
Paul says of the church at Corinth: “Now ye are the body and Christ, and members in particular” (I Cor. 12:27). The church is Christ’s body, and individual members are the body parts. Each member/part is important and accomplishes a necessary role for the edification of the body and the glory of Christ. A person does not unilaterally become a member, neither does he unilaterally release his membership. Both occur as a result of church authority.
Jesus said in Matthew 16 and 18 that the church has authority to bind and to loose. Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt. 18:18). A pastor has authority to lead, but the church has authority to bind and loose. An individual seeking to become a member submits to church authority, either through baptism, transfer, or testimony. Transferring membership from the right kind of church should also be with church approval. This respects the authority of the church. Leaving on unscriptural terms results in church discipline.