The first century church in Jerusalem gives us an example of what we presently call church membership. While it is to be understood that the make-up of the church was vastly different than in our day (the first church did not consist of denominations nor was membership as formalized as in our day), this early church gives us important principles that guide our practice of church membership.
What is church membership?
We see in Acts 2:41-47 that the people of the first church made a decision to follow Christ, to be added to the number of those following Christ, and to be involved in this new community of believers through worship, prayer, teaching, fellowship, mutual care, and witness in the world. This gives us a definition of what church membership is in our day. At Grace, we define church membership as the intentional connectedness and contribution of a Christian to a local assembly of believers.
Who is a member of the church?
We see in Acts 2:41 that the first church was made up of people who did three things. First, they received the word Peter preached to them; they received the message that Jesus Christ brings salvation to those who believe in him. Second, they were baptized; they publicly professed their faith in Jesus Christ. Third, they were added to the church; they were counted among the followers of Christ. They stepped out and joined themselves with the other believers with a commitment to be the church.
The membership of Grace is made up of people who have received the message of the gospel and have trusted Jesus Christ alone for salvation. They have been baptized as a public profession of their faith in Christ. They covenant with the church to carry out its mission in the church and in the world.
Why church membership?
The Bible tells us that God desires believers to live in covenant with one another, encouraging one another in the faith, and working together to give witness to his grace in the world (Hebrews 10:23-25). Becoming a member of a church is a practical way to carry out the principle of connectedness and contribution.
Do children join the church?
We believe that children can understand and respond to the gospel message. They are also to be baptized when they trust in Christ as their Savior and understand what baptism means. We offer a discipleship process designed to help parents and children work through the Bible’s teaching on salvation, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and church membership. When a child expresses his or her interest in these matters, parents may contact the Pastor for Children and Families. At this point, they are considered members under care. As children move into their teenage years, we desire that they go through the membership process and formally covenant with the church. Read the Children’s Membership Brochure to learn more.
How do I join Grace Community Church?
The first step toward church membership is attending the New Member Class.This three week class is offered quarterly on Sunday mornings throughout the year. Contact Elaine Atchison to find out when the next membership class is scheduled.