Church membership is a centerpiece of a Word-centered church. In recent blog posts, we’ve defined a Word-centered church as focused on expositional preaching, shepherding leadership, meaningful membership, and healthy gatherings. In the last post, I described the character of shepherding leadership, and shepherding leadership assumes a flock to teach, oversee, and protect. Membership is the biblical means by which pastors know the believers for whom they will give an account to God (Heb. 13:17).
Why is Church Membership Necessary?
In the church God knits Christians together through worship, service, and life. This is the meaning of being “individually members of one another.” Romans 12:5 instructs, “So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” Just as a believer is added to the Body of Christ at the moment of salvation, so also Christians are added to the local church in membership. Meaningful membership guards the front and back door of the church. It is necessary to receive and dismiss church membership biblically. In February 2018, Pastor Mike Srisam-ang published two excellent blogs on the importance of local church membership. You can read them HERE and HERE.
What Makes Church Membership Meaningful?
It is a two-fold answer including (1) a confession of sound doctrine and (2) a commitment to a church covenant. A church covenant follows Immanuel’s doctrinal statement in Article III in the church’s constitution because right doctrine leads to meaningful relationships. Membership links the two. To emphasize it in other ways, orthodoxy leads to orthopraxy, belief leads to behavior, and faith leads to faithfulness. The meaning of church membership will be confessed in theology and lived in practice.
As a church member, remind yourself of the covenant responsibilities of membership:
I therefore promise, in dependence upon the grace of God which helpeth our infirmities,
to contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints,
to do good unto all men, especially those who are of the household of faith,
to sanctify the Lord’s day by diligent and devoted attendance upon the public worship of God in this church,
to support the work of the church as God prospers us,
to keep the ordinances as they have been delivered unto us,
to pray faithfully for those who have the rule over us, who speak the Word of God,
and to preserve the good name of this church by a consistent walk
so that no reproach shall be brought upon the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Immanuel Baptist Church Constitution, Article III, Section 2.
Church membership at Immanuel Baptist Church is a three-step process:
1. Membership Class
2. Elder Interview
3. Congregational Vote
Begin the process by attending the November 4th membership class HERE.