WHAT IS CHURCH MEMBERSHIP?
Membership of a Church, is a Christian’s personal commitment to identify with that local church. Membership is a statement of agreement with the purpose and mission of a church, as well as participating in the life of the church for mutual caring, spiritual growing, and accountability.
WHY CHURCH MEMBERSHIP?
Everyone is welcome at Hetton-le-Hole Independent Methodist Church. Whether you are a member or not, you will always be part of our church family, but some feel they need a deeper commitment and through church membership this is offered. We hope God will challenge you to make a deeper step and partner with us further through membership. Membership does have its privileges… and its responsibilities! Commitment through Church membership often paves the way for God to richly bless those who serve Him as a part of the body of Christ.
WHAT DOES CHURCH MEMBERSHIP MEAN TO US?
Church membership underscores the Biblical principles of commitment and covenant. There are several ways to express commitment mentioned in the Bible. Taking an oath (Nehemiah 10:28), verbal declaration (Joshua 24:15) offering of a sacrifice (Genesis 31:43-52) and a written agreement (Nehemiah 9:38) are all statements of commitment in the Bible.
Membership helps to foster a spirit of community within the church, and this helps individuals know that they belong to something special and important. Relationships and community are key aspects in our lives as Christians. When Christians in Acts urged others to become Christians, they recognized that it didn’t mean just joining God, but joining them as well (Acts 2:37-47).
Commitment via church membership fosters the godly qualities of responsibility and ownership toward God’s work. When we feel this is “my church family”, we are concerned about the needs, activities, and people of our church. We see more clearly that the people we worship with are not merely fellow Christians but actually brothers and sisters in the household of God.
Church membership provides our church with a practical means of knowing who is committed to the work of God amongst us. It would not be proper for a person to have the privilege of influence without the responsibility of commitment. Those who are in places of influence and leadership must first be tested.
WILL I HAVE TO BECOME A MEMBER?
No! Anyone can attend the church, but while the church will continually encourage deeper levels of commitment, people will not be pressured in any way.
WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF MEMBERSHIP?
The responsibilities of membership are:
Worshipping – Worship keeps your soul, and the soul of our church, alive. Our church is set in our community to shine as a lighthouse for Jesus Christ and will shine as long as its members remain faithful in the matter of public worship. When people of God begin to forsake the house of God on the Lord’s Day, God’s work begins to languish and the light begins to fail. When conflicts arise on a Sunday, we need to ask ourselves, does this have to keep me from church?
Learning – Anyone who helps others must first develop a growing faith and be able to articulate it. Participating in Bible study groups and developing the habit of daily Bible study are ways to continue learning about the character of God.
Praying – The highest and deepest benefit you can receive from prayer is knowing that God has heard you. Start the practice of daily prayer at a time that is best for you. The worth of a prayer is not determined by its grammatical correctness, but by its sincerity. The main thing is to speak with God about the things that trouble, delight, or confuse you. Be persistent in your requests, turning your petitions to align with God’s will.
Giving – You are expected to financially support the church. You should give freely and cheerfully without any thought of reward (2 Cor. 9:7). We believe your giving should be systematic and proportionate.
Witnessing – “You will be my witnesses,” said Jesus, “in Jerusalem [that is, at home], in all Judea and Samaria [ the surrounding areas], and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). At the same time that Jesus commissioned His disciples, He set forth your responsibility to spread the Gospel everywhere. This does not mean you have to stand on street corners reading scripture, but you can be effective witness to friends, co-workers, and family members.
Serving – There is a place of service awaiting you somewhere in the church. God has given you a talent to be used.
HOW DO I BECOME A MEMBER?
The following outline provides a picture of the process.
- Each individual has to have made a personal profession of faith in Jesus Christ, as Lord and Saviour.
- Each prospective member should speak to one of the Elders or Deacons, who will provide them with a copy of the Church Membership Book.
- Application would then be made for Church Membership, by the completing of the “Form of Declaration” from the Membership Book.
- Interview with the Leadership.
- Acceptance by the Church Meeting.
- Following a successful probationery period, there will be a Public Affirmation of membership to the Church Family (if so desired).