Becoming a “member” at Coulby Newham Baptist
The difference between attenders and members can be summed up in one word: commitment!
It’s like the difference between couples who are just ‘going out,’ and those who get married. While becoming a Christian means to commit yourself to Christ, and so automatically become part of the world wide “church”, becoming a church member means to commit yourself to a specific community of other Christians. It’s a commitment to a specific group of believers – to practice the “one-another’s” of the New Testament.
Over 50 times in the New Testament the phrase “one another” or “each other” is used. We are commanded to love each other, pray for each other, encourage each other, admonish each other, greet each other, serve each other, teach each other, accept each other, honour each other, bear each other’s burdens, forgive each other, sing to each other, submit to each other, and be devoted to each other.
All of these commands are what membership in a local body of believers is all about! It’s not about my ‘rights’ as a member – these are the responsibilities of membership.
Paul mentions two different types of commitment in 2 Corinthians 8:5 “First they gave themselves to the Lord; and then, by God’s will, they gave themselves to us as well.” 2 Cor. 8:5
You may have made the commitment to follow Jesus Christ as your Leader and Forgiver – but have you also committed yourself to other Christians by membership in a church family? It’s a massive growth step. We’re not a perfect church, we’re almost full of imperfect people – but there’s always room for more! Are you ready to join a group of imperfect but loved people, serving a perfect Father?
The most important part of a marriage ceremony is when the man and woman exchange vows. Before witnesses and God, they make certain promises to each other. This covenant between them is the essence of the marriage. Throughout the Bible and church history, spiritual covenants have been made between people in order for mutual encouragement and accountability.
In Bible times people making a covenant agreement would cut a finger and rub ashes into the wound so a permanent mark would be made and visible (which is where we get the idea of wedding rings from). We won’t ask you to slice a thumb, but the essence of church membership is contained in the willingness to publicly commit to a membership covenant.
Before considering membership, we’ll want to make sure you understand and have made – a personal profession of Christ as Lord and Saviour, and are now willing to commit to this Church, have a chat with Stephen or a member of the leadership team all about this.
In essence we’re asking whether you’re someone who loves our Vision – Loving God and Sharing life together – and is willing through prayer, passion and perseverance to see its fulfilment. It may be you need to get to know us a little longer before we agree that’s the next step for you. Everyone can be an attender but we ask you to think hard about what it means to be a member before you make this serious commitment. It’s not for everyone. Members serve, give, and love to an unreasonable degree – but the rewards are out of this world!
Practically, when you become a member of the church, you are also committing to being involved in how the future of our Church is played out. Every two or three months we have fellowship meetings after the Sunday service. This is where we all gather together eat together and chat/pray/discuss about how our church moves forward. We believe that we all need to be involved in trying to work out where God is leading us and how he wants us to be Church in Teesside.
If you would like to take this step in to a covenant with us then we would love to talk to you and then welcome you in to membership officially on a Sunday morning.
This is really exciting stuff.
Let us know what you think!!!