Wouldn’t it be a shock to enter heaven and hear God say to you… “Welcome to eternity, you have established your desire to be in heaven based on your participation in my church on earth, therefore you are forever awarded admission to the Holy City of Jerusalem at a rate of .19 % of the time.
The rest of eternity you are on your own. Yikes!
That’s just some far-fetched humor but it drives home the point. Christ died for the church, it’s a gift to us to become members and it’s the ONLY means He gave us to possess what I call the 5 P’s of Church Membership:
Read on to learn more about these, and then click the link at the bottom of the page to enroll in the Power Path for a more in-depth engagement. And if you live in the local Okanogan/ Omak area, please visit our church and determine for yourself if membership is right for you. If so, then you will be presented with an opportunity to be empowered even further in your service to the Lord. After all, this is what it’s all about. Don’t miss it!
This meager web page is by no means an exhaustive course in church membership but it is intended to provide you with an overview of expectation, both as a joining member and as the body once you become a member voting on the acceptance of other new members.
It is intended to inform you of the rewards, expectations and responsibilities of church membership.
To begin with, we must first acknowledge that God expects His church to be organized and to follow a certain process for inclusion. After all, it’s His body we are partaking of.
- The church must be local, visible, organized and constituted because it’s the preeminent body of Christ (Colossians 1:18) And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
This Internet site does not constitute a church, nor does the idea that believers who never assemble with the brethren are to be considered a church. God has a reason for assembling us together, and it’s not so we can point at one another and chastise how the other isn’t assembling correctly. It’s so we can come together in unity and strengthen one another for the work of the Lord.
2) It’s members must be willing, regenerated, baptized believers.
Acts 2:41, 47
42 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 47 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
In order for the head of Christ to be carried by a body congenial to His holiness, it must be a body formed in His likeness and righteousness. The only way for this can happen is if the people who make up the church (body) are regenerated themselves by grace through faith in Christ.
As seen in these verses, members must be:
- Willingly saved – They “gladly received his word.”
- Baptized – Baptism is a picture of salvation, it is not necessary nor a replacement for salvation but it does define church membership. Notice in Acts 2:41 that upon baptism, they were “added to the church.”
For those desiring church membership who have been scripturally baptized in a church of like faith, they may join by either a letter of transfer or by giving a testimony of their salvation and baptism to the church body.
This path to church membership ensures the body remains holy which then invites and embodies God’s power. Holy power is only held in holy vessels, therefore a church must strive to be holy, unified and active in the work of the Lord. THis is the key to it being effective in spiritual and heavenly influence.
3.) A few of the Benefits of Church Membership
- Members may vote and make suggestions on how the church should be organized.
- Members are given preeminent treatment when it comes to help and support; financially, spiritually and physically.
- Qualified members in good standing and properly trained may teach.
- As a
memberyou may be involved in knowing the intimate business of the church and attend church business meetings.
- Church facilities and pastoral services are only extended for use to its members, such as having the Pastor perform funerals, weddings or baby dedications.
- The church will vouch for your membership status in a court of law,
howeverit cannot go to court for, stand by the reputation of, or in any way collaborate the witness of a non-member attempting to quantify a moral standing within the community. The answer to such petitions will always simply be, “they are not a member of this church.”
- As a widow, you will be looked after. The church is commanded by God to take care of the fatherless as well. As a church family, when one hurts, we all hurt and when one rejoices we all rejoice.
- As the church grows, the benefits become more varied, but in
shortthe church always seeks to embrace its own because that is how a body protects itself which is what determines its growth.
- There are plenty of spiritual benefits also, each falling under the headings of protection, provision, purpose, power, and perpetuity.
4.) Some considerations of Church Membership
As a church member you’ve entered into a supernatural relationship with the God of heaven. It’s not to be taken lightly. God protects and provides for His people through the church. He protects His servants in a powerful way and He expects cooperation and subjection to the authority of the church through the man He’s put in charge through the pastorate.
Many people do not like this idea, especially if they are not fond of the Pastor’s personality, preaching, or other personal traits. But by submitting yourself as a member you need to know that you are also submitting to the authority God has placed in His church.
Recognizing you are joining a supernatural entity that is rooted in eternity, holiness and righteousness here are a few areas of consideration to be aware of before committing to membership in any New Testament church.
- Church members are expected to tithe and are commonly called upon for special offerings and the support of missionaries. But fear not, they are not commanded to (neither in the church or in the Bible) nor are they reprimanded for not tithing, but the Bible clearly teaches that the church is to sustain itself and take care of its Pastor as well as those in full-time commitment to the church. But rest assured you will discover God always blesses those who bless His church with their financial gifts. You can’t outgive God, but you can certainly steal from Him.
- Church membership also means you are submitting to the preaching. You are willfully accepting the style, motivation
andinterpretation of scriptures through the man of God in the pulpit of that church.
- You are also submitting to the use of church discipline for correction, as prescribed by the Word of God, should it be necessary to protect the reputation and power of the church. It means you are held responsible even for your behavior outside the church. Fortunately, at Faith Missionary Baptist Church we have a balanced and merciful approach to church discipline; wholly embracing its purpose of restoring fellowship both within the membership and with God.
- We said that only members may vote and make suggestions on how the church should be organized. Since the church organization is democratic by nature, each member, including the Pastor, are only as valuable as one single vote. To put it bluntly, your opinion carries no merit whatsoever unless you are committed to the church as a member, and then even once a member your input will always be tempered by the sum of the body. No single member is given the power to disrupt the body or create a dividing schism. The way God has set it up, those who try are doing so in complete disobedience and through this lens can be visibly seen as walking in opposition, allowing church discipline to be meted out justly and in complete transparency.
- Church members are financially responsible for the church in a court of law. This is one to consider seriously before joining. If the church were to default on a loan, owe the government in any way, get sued or be found guilty of any civil crimes, the membership is held responsible by the courts for repayment, retribution, legal fees, etc. Say the church is to be sued and the sum total amount of the lawsuit is beyond the financial capacity of the church, then the courts have the right to turn to the documented members of the church and sue them for payment. This is why walking worthy of all acceptation is so important. If a church body is disruptive, you may not want to join. But if a church body is wholly serving the Lord in sobriety and good conscience, then you can rest easy that they are also being divinely protected.
- As a member, you are expected to support the church with not only your tithes and offerings but in church attendance, with your energies, service, contributions of talent and in prayer.
God calls His church to take care of the widows and fatherless, to feed the poor and shake the hedges for those who are willing to come to His banquet table. He calls us to endure hardness as good soldiers, to lay hold of unseen treasure as our motivation and to lay ourselves upon the altar as living sacrifices. He beckons us to a path forged in blood, only to take up our own crosses and follow Him through this entity He framed as “the church.”
In the 21st century, the ambiguity of what a church ought to be is overwhelmingly dissonant. So much has happened to blur the lines in the devil’s battle of opposition to destroy her very foundations. But that doesn’t mean God is dead or Christ is somehow devoid of His power. It doesn’t mean that church membership ought to be solemn and sour. It means, we need to take it very serious, and we need to use it to our own spiritual benefit. There will be rewards in heaven and eternity is definitely based upon our response to God’s Word while we are here on this earth.
The church has already been promised power, protection, provision, purpose and perpetuity. As a Pastor, I don’t have to fight any aspect of this wonderful alliteration of “P’s.” I get to rest in His perfect finished work, both for salvation as we all do in Christ, and in the operation of the church. Pastoring has its challenges, but only because we are in the flesh. Anytime there is a problem within the church, all i have to do is go to God and relinquish it to Him in prayer and He takes care of it. It’s quite remarkable. So much so that if any of us had this ability in our regular jobs, we would know employment that is not subject to any bondage or stress whatsoever.
So yes, there are many facets to God’s expectations both of the church and us personally but it’s also all rooted in His mercy and blessed by His grace, fueled by the resurrection and tempered by His patient waiting for the end of all things. We are fortunate that He calls us into service as instruments of righteousness. We once were lost but now are found and the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls is not at all weary or wondering what to do next. Everything was established in heaven even before the foundations of the world.
It is imperative that we all drink from the same well of knowledge in unity. It’s imperative that we all at least understand where the leadership is headed and under what guise, even if we don’t wholly agree. Because God blesses unity in a mighty way. It’s His nature to do so. His Spirit demands order because He is not the author of confusion. And the only way feeble, finite humans are going to access and partake of such a holy and bountiful agenda of prosperity is to submit ourselves one to another in the fear of God, for God resisteth the proud but giveth grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5 and Ephesians 5:21)
To this end, once you become a member of Faith Missionary Baptist Church, we have a more in-depth New Member’s Bible Course on Monday night’s that delves into the entire spectrum of Christian service. We also review our Church Constitution as well as the history, associations and vision of Faith Missionary Baptist Church. Finally we capitalize on our approach to helping you “Do Something Great for God” by taking you through the entire Power Path personally.
This 15 week course spends the first five weeks establishing your understanding of the Church and its role corporately, then over the next five weeks we assess your spiritual gifts, God-given talents, and personal experiences (that you care to share) mingled with your hopeful expectations to determine who it is God would have you serve and in what capacity.
Then during the last five weeks, we either design a ministry for you to serve in or we connect and integrate you into an existing ministry. All of this is so you can get up to speed experience the joy and tangible fruits of serving our great God and King, Christ Jesus, in as short as time as possible.
To God be the glory, great things He hath done!
Click here to enroll in our online course “The Power Path”
If you want to discover how you can “Do Something Great for God.”