Archive for January, 2009

Church Membership

What does it mean to be a “member” of a church?  What are the qualifications, and what are the responsibilities?  It depends on what kind of church you are.

Ivy Farms is a Southern Baptist congregation.  All members are believers in Jesus Christ as a personal savior.  All have confessed their sinfulness and put their faith in Jesus to save them from hell, putting their name in the Book of Life, that they go to heaven when they die.  And as believers, they agree to live their life as best they can by the standards set by the Bible, especially as described in the New Testament.

The Baptist church has two ordinances for the people:  the Lord’s supper (known to some as Communion) and full immersion baptism  Baptism is not given to infants, but only to those who first declare Jesus as savior.  The baptism is an outward sign that who they used to be is considered dead and buried, and that the person is now given new life in Christ.  We affirm the person going into the water and celebrate as they come out.

Most, but not all people attending Ivy Farms are Christians.  At present, all these attending Christians have been baptized by immersion.  And most of these Christians have taken the second step of declaring a desire to join the church.

The Baptist word is to “unite” with the church.  That is the goal. You become one with the group, and they pledge their affiliation with you.  We agree to support one another in prayer and encouragement.  We agree to volunteer for jobs that need to be done.  We agree to pool our money to pay the necessary expenses of heat and light and water and salaries.

That is what it is to be a member.  We care about all in our neighborhood, and enjoy the company of the visitors and regular attenders.  but Jesus (in John 15) told the disciples to “love one another” as a mark of their faith.  Membership provides our special concern because members have become one of our “another.”