Why does church membership matter?
Membership matters because the local church visibly represents God's kingdom on earth. The Spirit appointed leaders over identifiable congregations (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:2-3). Churches submitted to particular elders (1 Thess 5:12-13; Heb 13:17). Discipline occured among an identifiable assembly (Matt 18:17-20; 1 Cor 5:1-13). Interdependence was expressed by each body member (Rom 12:4-16; 1 Cor 12:12-31). The Christian life involves a corporate dimension (Rom 16:1-5; 1 Tim 5:9-18; Heb 10:25). Together, these observations make membership to a local church crucial. Therefore, membership is required if one desires to serve in any ministry representing Redeemer Church. You can read more on the importance of church membership here.
How does one join Redeemer Church?
On this side of the cross and resurrection, the way Jesus Christ makes his heavenly authority visible on earth is through local churches filled with baptized believers submitting to his reign, walking in step with his commandments, and growing everyday in obedience to him (Matt 16:18-19; 18:15-20; 28:18-20). Local churches are God’s “object-lesson” of divine wisdom, his tangible reminder that through Christ's person and work God disarmed the rulers and authorities, broke the power of sin, and is subjecting all things to the risen Christ (Eph 1:9-10, 20-21; 3:10-11; Col 3:15; Heb 2:14; cf. 1 Cor 15:24).
Therefore, it is incumbent upon the elders and members of Redeemer Church to maintain the distinction between the world, whom we desire to experience the liberating power of the gospel, and those whose lives authenticate the liberating power of the gospel. To help preserve this important distinction between the world and the church and to help disciple people in their relationship to Christ and his church, the following measures of care exist in the process of joining Redeemer Church.
For those wishing to become a member of Redeemer Church, we ask that they complete the six sessions of our Membership Matters new members class. The classes are offered throughout the year. Upcoming classses and schedule of sessions will be announced in our weekly eNews, Sunday Worship Guides, posted on Realm and included in our online calendar. It's not required that class sessions be taken sequentially, so feel free to hop in at any time and make up the missed sessions later. Register for the next upcoming class here. Why a class? Three basic purposes:
For Discipleship. Whether you just recently professed faith in Jesus Christ or have been walking with him for decades, our chief aim in Membership Matters is your discipleship. Our foremost desire is to equip you in submitting to the authority of Jesus Christ and treasuring the gospel that is “of first importance” (Matt 28:18-20; 1 Cor 15:1-4). In particular, we see this course teaching Jesus-followers to obey all that he has commanded in regard to the visible expression of his kingdom on earth, the local church, and living with each other in it through the power of the gospel.
For Unity. Moreover, by offering a common teaching from Scripture for all who pursue membership at Redeemer Church, we hope to preserve the unity of the Spirit. That does not mean Membership Matters is the only occasion on which we together seek unity; such active and intentional pursuit of unity should characterize the whole of our lives together (e.g., Acts 4:32; Eph 4:1-3; Phil 2:1-6; Col 3:14). Nevertheless, by instilling within all who enter our church the fundamentals of Christian living in community, we're further equipped to respond in Christ-honoring ways when the world, our flesh, and the devil threaten our unity. Moreover, we hope the materials in this class will contribute to your discernment about whether to join Redeemer Church or seek membership at another faithful, gospel-preaching church.
For Mission. Lastly, we want to ensure that all who join Redeemer Church are familiar with the various avenues for service and outreach to the world as well as the biblical passions driving them. Membership Matters should acquaint you with how the Bible presents God’s passion to make his name famous through his people and how we unite together to serve in contexts of local ministries and frontier missions (Hab 2:14; Rom 15:8-21; 16:25-27).
2. Care Group
While walking through the membership process, we'd urge you to begin participating in a Care Group that meets in closest proximity to your home. Alongside Gathered Worship and Members Meetings, Care Groups exists as one of the primary care structures within Redeemer Church. Proximity enables such care to occur more frequently as we see taking place in the early church (e.g., Acts 2:46-47; 20:20; Rom 12:13; 16:5). In fact, proximity makes it all the more possible for us to fulfill the “one-anothers” of Scripture such as exhorting one another every day (Heb 3:12-14), bearing one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2), and confessing our sins to and praying for one another (Jas 5:16). Proximity also serves evangelism efforts to a particular neighborhood or region a Care Group decides to target strategically (cf. 1 Cor 9:19-23).
Once finished with Membership Matters, a person must complete two forms expressing their willingness to join Redeemer Church. The first is the Church Covenant & Discipline form, which ensures that the individual has read the Redeemer Church Covenant, the Redeemer Statement of Faith, and the Statement on Church Discipline, and is willing to commit to all in good conscience. The second is the Membership Profile form, which is simply a tool to help us know you better and come to understand your spiritual background more clearly. Both forms are available by request or accessible online at the following links: Church Covenant & Discipline form; Membership Profile form.
The purpose of this conversation is two-fold. First, the conversation provides a context for everyone desiring membership at Redeemer Church to ask any questions of the church’s leadership they may have, share any remaining concerns, and testify to the Lord's saving grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Second, the conversation provides a context for the elders to hear one’s profession of faith in Jesus Christ, ask questions that help discern one’s consideration for membership, and guide the potential member in the way that would be most beneficial for their own soul and the overall health of Redeemer Church.
This last measure of care provides opportunity for the elders to recommend someone for covenant membership, for the congregation to hear their confession of and trust in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and for the members to affirm corporately one’s joining membership at Redeemer. Those still desiring membership will attend a members meeting to testify of the Lord’s redeeming work in their own lives and their desire to join and serve the Redeemer body. If no Scriptural concerns exist, the membership will vote to receive each candidate into membership and commit to serving alongside them in the love of Christ and strength of God’s Spirit.