This is the outline from this weeks discussion on the new Membership section in our articles of ministry. The Blue is my comments tying it to the previous messages.
First week: Universal Church, Local Church. no difference, requirement to be a part is the same for both. A heart changed by Christ.
Week 2: What did the early church do after Pentecost? Met together, Ate together, Prayed for one another, and were generous with their possessions. And the kicker of it all that we must never lose sight of is that all these things flow out of their being saved, and not to in any way earn that salvation. They are fruit of a tree of salvation, not the trunk.
A Member at Emmaus Christian Church is a person who has made a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and has acknowledged a call by God to be joined with ECC.”
So You recall as I said as we looked at various scriptures a few weeks ago, the first requirement to be a member of the family of God, called the Church, is to be saved by the grace of God, through Faith in Jesus Christ.
“A Member, according to their abilities, is expected to: “
If you recall last week we looked at what the early church did in response to the good news they heard about Jesus, and the radical life change that resulted from their personal encounter with Jesus. There are also instructions for believers in the new testament that tell us how we are to relate to one another in the body.
- Attend services regularly Hebrews 10:25 instructs the church to not forsake the gathering together of believers. This is Sunday primarily, but also as many other events that are part of the life of the church.
- Receive communion When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, he said for the disciples to do this as often as they gather in remembrance of him. This is a sign as I spoke of last week that we are unified with one another…
- Attend congregational meetings. As a congregational governed church, we are each one responsible to attend the annual meetings, and any others that may be called.
- Pray regularly for the church Paul instructs us in 1 Thess. 5:17 to pray without ceasing. Prayer, as I said last week, is the most important and powerful thing we can do for ourselves, and others. Only God can act in a person’s heart, and that is the purpose we are sent to fulfill.
- Give regularly of time, talent, and treasure Giving is a privilege of those who have been set free from the bondage to possessions. When you receive the greatest prize of life, a relationship with Christ, as I said last week, our possessions go from potential idols, to tools for ministry. We have a chance to bless others, and be an example for them by showing them that our earthly possessions mean less to us than loving others around us.
Potential Member(s) shall meet with the pastor to discuss the current membership process and sign a statement of faith. In light of the many instructions given to the leaders of the church, as well as the instructions that a member must be a believer, we need to have a way that we can understand if a person is in fact a believer, and understands the gospel before they are admitted to membership in the local church. Since we cannot judge a person’s heart, a meeting with them, to discus the matter, as well as signing a written affirmation of faith will give the leaders of the church a reasonable amount of ability to say that they are as far as they can tell a believer. Upon completion of the process, the Pastor shall present the prospective Member(s) to the congregation at which time the new Member(s) and the congregation shall express their mutual commitment. Church membership is a two way street. The congregation recognizes that God has brought the new member to this church, and the new members recognize the same and each commits to care for one another as the scriptures instruct us to.
Membership shall be forfeited if the member is inactive for a six-month period, excluding health, job, or other extenuating circumstances. A Member may withdraw their membership by written request or verbal request to at least two Board Members.
The reality of our current culture is that while membership in the universal body is a forever thing, local church membership is more of a fluid thing. People come and go, move away, and leave for various reasons. Further more, there are times in scripture where the church is instructed to put a person outside of fellowship. So we need to have a process that lets members know that is expected if they are not a part of the fellowship for a time, they will be removed from our membership roles.