Membership in the Presbyterian Church
What Is the Meaning of Membership and Baptism?
We believe that, in Jesus Christ, God calls people to faith, and God calls people to join a particular church. As Presbyterians, we do not believe that it is up to us to decide what church to join. It is the responsibility of each person to discern what Church God is calling them to join. We also believe the church is the body of Christ in our world. Within the fellowship and worship of our Church, members grow in their faith, trust, love and commitment to God. Then members are sent out as the body of Christ in the world to witness God’s love, grace and mercy with their words and actions. We believe that baptism is the visible sign of God’s call and claim on a human life and of entrance into the membership of the church. The baptism of children witnesses to the truth that God’s love claims people before they are able to respond in faith. The baptism witnesses to the truth that God’s gift of grace calls forth a response of faithfulness. Thus, the triune God, incarnate in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, gives to the Church not only its mission but also its understanding of membership.
What Do Members Do?
- Proclaim the good news of God’s love and grace with our words and actions.
- Actively participate in the life, ministry, and worship of our church.
- Support the other members of our church with our prayers, concern, and active support.
- Study Scripture and the issues of Christian faith and life.
- Support the ministry of our church through the giving of our money, time, and talents.
- Demonstrate a new quality of life within and through our church.
- Respond to God’s activity in the world through service to others.
- Seek to live responsibly in our personal, family, vocational, political, cultural, and social relationships of life.
- Work in the world for peace, justice, freedom, and human fulfillment.
- Participate in the governing responsibilities of our church.
- Review and evaluate regularly the integrity of our membership, and consider ways in which our participation in the worship and service of our church might be increased and made more meaningful.
Who Can Be a Member?
The only requirements for joining the membership of our church are baptism and a profession of faith and trust in God’s grace in Jesus Christ and a desire to become part of the fellowship and ministry of his church. If you have already been baptized by another Christian Church with water and in the name of our Triune God, then we would gladly recognize and accept your baptism. No person shall be denied membership for any reason not related to profession of faith. We believe that the Gospel leads us to extend the fellowship of Christ to everyone, because failure to do so would be a rejection of Christ himself and would be a scandal to the Gospel.
How Can I Become a Member?
If you believe that God is calling you to join our church, you are encouraged to express this desire to one of our pastors. Our pastors will arrange a time for you to meet with our Session, the governing body of our church. At that meeting, you can join the church in one of three ways.
1) If you are currently a member of another Christian Church, we can probably contact your current church and have your membership transferred to our church.
2) If you have previously joined another church by profession of faith, but you are not currently a member of any church, or if your previous church is unable to transfer your membership to our church, then you can simply reaffirm your faith and trust in God’s grace in Jesus Christ before Session.
3) If you have never been a member of a Christian Church, then you would profess your faith and trust in God’s grace in Jesus Christ before Session. To affirm or reaffirm your faith before Session, our pastor will ask you, “Do you affirm/reaffirm your faith and trust in God’s grace in Jesus Christ, and do you profess him as Lord and Savior of your life?” To affirm/reaffirm your faith, you would say, “Yes.” If you have not been previously baptized, then we would arrange a time for your baptism.
Before joining, potential members are encouraged (but not required) to attend our Inquirer’s Class which introduces the history and organization of the Presbyterian Denomination and our local church. This class provides inquirers an opportunity to learn the rich heritage, mission, theology, and witness of our congregation. The class is offered three to four times a year as needed on a Sunday afternoon for three hours.