A church is more than a place to go on Sundays. The Scripture calls the local church a family (relational intimacy and shared identity), body (mutually dependent but with different roles), temple of the Spirit (where Christ dwells) and vine/branch (mutually dependent on Christ and His word). It is not simply a place to be served. It is a network of relationship where there is mutually accountability and care in Christ. We believe Christ calls every Christian to be a an integral part of a church family through membership.
What are the requirements of being a member?
There are two basic questions to ask yourself as you become a member of Living Hope.
- Do you know Christ?
- Can you adopt yourself to the spiritual family of Living Hope?
Though not a requirement, we ask that all members have been baptized as a believer or be willing to be baptized as a public declaration of their faith in Christ.
Why does membership matter for a Christian?
The following is excerpted from Jonathan Leeman’s book Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus from Crossway, 2012. Jonathan Leeman is the editorial director for 9Marks.
- It’s biblical. Jesus established the local church and all the apostles did their ministry through it. The Christian life in the New Testament is church life. Christians today should expect and desire the same.
- The church is its members. To be “a church” in the New Testament is to be one of its members (read through Acts). And you want to be part of the church because that’s who Jesus came to rescue and reconcile to himself.
- It’s a pre-requisite for the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper is a meal for the gathered church, that is, for members (see 1 Cor. 11:20, 33). And you want to take the Lord’s Supper. It’s the team “jersey” which makes the church team visible to the nations.
- It’s how to officially represent Jesus. Membership is the church’s affirmation that you are a citizen of Christ’s kingdom and therefore a card-carrying Jesus Representative before the nations. And you want to be an official Jesus Representative. Closely related to this…
- It’s how to declare one’s highest allegiance. Your membership on the team, which becomes visible when you wear the “jersey,” is a public testimony that your highest allegiance belongs to Jesus. Trials and persecution may come, but your only words are, “I am with Jesus.”
- It’s how to embody and experience biblical images. It’s within the accountability structures of the local church that Christians live out or embody what it means to be the “body of Christ,” the “temple of the Spirit,” the “family of God,” and so on for all the biblical metaphors (see 1 Cor. 12). And you want to experience the interconnectivity of his body, the spiritual fullness of his temple, and the safety and intimacy and shared identity of his family.
- It’s how to serve other Christians. Membership helps you to know which Christians on Planet Earth you are specifically responsible to love, serve, warn, and encourage. It enables you to fulfill your biblical responsibilities to Christ’s body (for example, see Eph. 4:11-16; 25-32).
- It’s how to follow Christian leaders. Membership helps you to know which Christian leaders on Planet Earth you are called to obey and follow. Again, it allows you to fulfill your biblical responsibility to them (see Heb. 13:7; 17).
- It helps Christian leaders lead. Membership lets Christian leaders know which Christians on Planet Earth they will “give an account” for (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2).
- It enables church discipline. It gives you the biblically prescribed place to participate in the work of church discipline responsibly, wisely, and lovingly (1 Cor. 5).
- It gives structure to the Christian life. It places an individual Christian’s claim to “obey” and “follow” Jesus into a real-life setting where authority is actually exercised over us (see John 14:15; 1 John 2:19; 4:20-21).
- It builds a witness and invites the nations. Membership puts the alternative rule of Christ on display for the watching universe (see Matt. 5:13; John 13:34-35; Eph. 3:10; 1 Peter 2:9-12). The very boundaries which are drawn around the membership of a church yields a society of people which invites the nations to something better.
What happens when one becomes a member?
When one becomes a member of the Living Hope, we understand that the member is affirming themselves to the vision, mission, values and beliefs of the church. In addition, the member is agreeing to support and follow the leadership of the church and to the collective community. It is that commitment that gives confidence that the member can serve in key capacities at the church, serve in leadership roles, teach regularly, vote on church matters, and receive financial support in missions.
When are the membership classes?
Membership classes occur on the 1st and 2nd Sundays (9:00 – 10:30 am) of February, May, August and November. The membership ceremony and lunch occurs typically on the 3rd Sunday of the said months.
The following is the Membership Class and Ceremony Schedule for 2016:
|Class #1||Class #2||Class # 3 AND Ceremony|
|February||February 5||February 12||February 19|
|May||May 7||May 14||May 21|
|August||August 6||August 13||August 20|
|Nov/Dec||October 29||November 5||November 12|
To sign up for the GROW 101: Membership Class, visit our GROW Teaching Ministry page at http://livinghopecc.org/growth/growcenter.
For more information or to sign up for a Membership Class, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.