Wherever you turn, it seems someone wants you to join something. Supermarkets, gas stations, department stores, restaurants – pick a retailer, there’s a rewards program offering exclusive benefits for handing over your name and contact information. Is membership in the church really any different?
If you are have trusted in Jesus as your Savior, then you have been joined to the universal body of Christ. God intends every Christian to express their membership in the universal body of Christ through membership in a specific local church. Church membership is vital to our spiritual health, identifies us with Christ and his people, and enables us to fulfill our mission in ways we never could working alone.
Members of KingsWay covenant to support and encourage one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Our elders and leaders covenant to serve them through teaching, counseling, and equipping for ministry. Our Relational Commitments are an important part of this covenant, detailing how we will respond to conflict as a church family. Preparing to make a membership covenant at KingsWay is essentially a two-step process.
Step 1: Baptism
Church membership is a privilege reserved for Christians, which is why we require every member to be water baptized as a public profession of faith in Christ.
Immersion in water is an outward sign of an inward reality. As an outward sign, it serves as a public testimony of personal faith in Jesus. As an inward reality, it symbolizes a believer’s union with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. Few acts of Christian obedience provide a more powerful illustration of cleansing from the guilt of sin and deliverance from the power of sin.
Who should be baptized?
Water baptism is a corporate ordinance instituted by God for all who have decided to follow Jesus in response to the inward, regenerating, work of the Holy Spirit. While there is no specific age requirement in Scripture, baptism is a symbol of beginning the Christian life and should not be encouraged until an individual is old enough to make a credible profession of faith.
How do you know if this is you?
There are three “tests” that you can contemplate as you consider taking the step of baptism.
1. Doctrinal test—Do you believe God’s gospel? (See 1 John 4:14-15 and 1 John 5:10-12.)
2. Moral test—Do you obey God’s commands? (See 1 John 3:6-9.)
3. Social test—Do you love God’s people? (See 1 John 4:19-21.)
What happens when you’re baptized?
Anytime we obey God’s commands we experience God’s blessing. Though baptism is not an action that earns salvation or anything else from God, it is a means of grace in the life of a Christian. Often after being baptized, God imparts greater assurance of salvation, a fresh awareness of His love, and increased joy in the gospel through public identification with the people of God. Baptism is also a significant encouragement to other believers observing the process as they are reminded of God’s saving work in their own life.
What are the next steps?
If you are interested in being baptized, the next steps are simple.
1. Attend a Baptism class—Led twice a year by one of KingsWay’s elders, this one-hour class is an opportunity to hear what the Bible teaches about baptism and ask questions about the process.
2. Have a sit-down conversation with one of the pastors—this will allow you to allow you to express your desire to be baptized one-on-one with an elder and benefit from their counsel in determining whether you’re ready to take this important step.
If you would like to learn more about baptism, check out the following books:
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greer
How Can I Be Sure I’m a Christian? by Donald Whitney
Church Membership by Jonathan Leeman
If you have any questions, or to schedule a baptism, contact our Lead Pastor, Matthew Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 2: Membership Class
Our Membership Class is a four week study designed to help you make an informed decision about membership at KingsWay. The class covers our story and our vision & mission in detail. At the conclusion of the Membership Class, you’ll have an opportunity to fill out a questionnaire, followed by a conversation with a pastor about your testimony, our Statement of Faith and our Relational Commitments. The pastoral interview will prepare you to join our church family during a special Sunday Morning Meeting. Our next Membership Class will begin on Sunday, January 13 and last five weeks until Sunday, February 10. If you are interested in signing up for this class, let us know at email@example.com.