Membership is not a formality or just a tradition. For us, it is like a marriage, a public promise to be a family. It is about mutual encouragement and accountability. It is our commitment to God resulting in a commitment to one another.
Why Should a Church Have Membership?
- The New Testament presents a picture of definable groups of people who, once committed to the Lord, identified themselves with, and committed themselves to, a particular local body. (Revelations 1:4, Romans 16:1)
- Membership provides a commitment that enables those God has called into leadership to provide encouragement and accountability.
Why Should a Christian Be a Member of a Local Church?
- Becoming a Christian automatically makes a person a member of God’s universal church. Membership in a community church is a public affirmation of one’s commitment to Jesus Christ. God connects commitment to Him with commitment to His people, resulting in a body of people with a common commitment to support and care. Thus united, the body of believers then accomplish more in the struggle against sin and more in the proclamation of the gospel. Finally, God has appointed leaders to guide us and hold us accountable and it is prudent for us to place ourselves under their care.
What is Grace Community Church’s Philosophy of Membership?
- Grace Community Church believes in high standards for membership, and even higher standards for office holders within the church. Membership is not required for participation at Grace Community Church, though some of the ministries do require membership prior to service. (i.e. Office holders must be members.)
- Grace Community Church understands that some people have had very disenchanting experiences with churches in the past, and that these experiences make them reluctant to join a church. Those people are welcome to worship with us on an ongoing basis; though, we would still hope that, in the long run, they might be led by God to join with us.
What is Grace Community Church Committed To Do For Members?
- To preach and teach in a manner that is faithful to the Bible--God’s divinely-inspired revelation for man.
- To faithfully administer the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper.
- To administer church discipline and exercise Biblical authority and leadership.
- To foster, in each member, spiritual growth in God’s grace through worship and service, according to his or her spiritual gifts.
- To help spread the Gospel, locally and beyond. Locally, by helping each member reach out to his friends with Christ’s love; and beyond, by providing whatever assistance possible to regional and international ministries.
What Standards Must New Members Meet in Order to Join?
- The spiritual requirement: They must personally accept Christ as Savior and Lord. When being received into membership, they will be asked the following question:
Do you acknowledge yourself to be a sinner in the sight of God, justly deserving His displeasure, and without hope except through his gracious mercy, and do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God and only Savior of sinners, receiving and depending upon Him alone for salvation as He is offered in the Gospel?
- They must be baptized.
- They must be interviewed by one or more Elders.
What are the Ongoing Standards for Members?
- The character requirement: When being received into membership, they will be asked the following question:
Do you resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as becomes a follower of Christ?
A positive answer to that question implies that, by His grace, they endeavor to live:
- A life committed to growing in Christ (1 Peter 4:15; Ephesians 4:15)
- A life free from sin(s) that would disgrace Christ and His church. (2 Peter 2:11-12)
- The community requirement: When being received into membership, they will be asked the following question:
Do you promise to support the Church in its worship and work to the best of your ability?
A positive answer to that question implies:
- A commitment to the church's worship of God, shown both by regular attendance and prayer for the church.
- A commitment to the work of the church shown by efforts to reach the unchurched, by regular financial giving, and by serving in a ministry through the use of one’s spiritual gifts.
- The accountability requirement: When being received into membership, they will be asked the following question:
Do you submit yourself to the government and discipline of the Church, and promise to study its purity and peace?
A positive answer implies the following:
- Willingness to heed the instruction, care and guidance of the leadership. Submission to church leadership. (“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Hebrews 13:17)
- Harmony with other Christians. (“If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:17)
- Restraint from gossip. (“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” James 1:26)
What is Desired (Not Required) of Members?
- A daily walk with God. Regular prayer and Bible reading for the purpose of growing a more intimate relationship with God.
- Care Community involvement. Besides regular attendance at worship services, each member should be involved in a care community where his spiritual, physical and emotional needs may be served, and where he may help serve the needs of others.
- Spiritual gift stewardship. Grace Community Church believes that every Christian should have a ministry commensurate with the gifts that God has given him through the Holy Spirit.
- Financial stewardship. Sacrificial giving should be the goal of every member. We believe tithing is a minimal biblical standard for us to seek.
Membership Covenant Information
At the end of this course, you will have the opportunity to meet with one of the elders. If you would like to become a member of Grace Community Church, you will be asked to sign a Membership Covenant, which includes the following information. (A blue Membership Covenant card will be available at the end of the Membership Class).
I am convinced that, by the grace of God, I have been born into a relationship with Him. Being in agreement with the vision, philosophy and standards of Grace Community Church, I feel led by God to become part of the Grace Community Church family. I hereby place myself under the spiritual leadership of this church. In doing so, I am saying the following
- I have made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
- I am committed to living as a follower of Christ.
- I am committed to protecting the peace and purity of the Church.
- I am committed to supporting the worship and work of the Church.
- I have been baptized.
- I have been interviewed by one or more Elders.
- I will refrain from gossip.
I understand that the above standard cannot be maintained without relying on the Holy Spirit to work in my life, without regular repentance, and without specific commitments on my part. Having completed Grace's Membership Class, I agree with the standards of Church Membership and, in addition to what is required, I understand that the Church’s goals for members include that they:
- Spend time alone with God
- Be involved in a Care Community
- Identify spiritual gifts and use them
- Tithe income