About "Formal" Church Membership
In the Bible, the "Christian life" is "Church" life. In other words, to be a Christian automatically connects you to Jesus in a way that makes you a member of the "body" of Jesus (the Church). This means that trusting in Jesus immediately puts a Christian in a "blood-bought" relationship with other people who trust in Jesus—no matter who they are or where they live! The Church of Jesus Christ is a global family! (This relationship comes with all sorts of obligations that we attempt to describe below in our Membership Covenant).
Yet as we read the New Testament descriptions of "Church Life," it becomes quite clear that this "global unity" takes visible expression in unique, local assemblies (churches) of Christians. For example, these local assemblies have pastors responsible for their souls in ways that they are not responsible for Christians in other parts of the world (Heb 13:17). These local assemblies also Baptize new Christians into their number (Acts 2:41), and include (1 Cor 11:17–34) or even exclude (1 Cor 5:11) individuals from the family meal of the Lord's supper.
Now over the centuries, the Church of Jesus has "done membership" in a broad variety of ways. Yet regardless of how Church's "do membership," the Bible makes clear that it is a Church's responsibility to protect the name of Jesus by ensuring that its members: 1) Understand and protect the true gospel of Jesus (Gal 1:8–9), 2) Understand and agree on what it means to live as a member of the body of Jesus (1 Tim 3:15), and 3) Actually live in a way that displays the beauty of Jesus (1 Cor 5:1–13).
At New Creation Church, we believe that one of the best ways to do these three things in the American context is to use formal membership classes to ensure that those we publicly recognize as members of this local body of Jesus and allow to serve as members of the family of Jesus actually understand what it means to believe in Jesus, what it looks like to follow him, and whether they indeed are following him. While this should happen naturally to some extent in any church, our membership class simply ensures that it does happen.
If you are reading this and are not currently a member of a local church, we strongly encourage you to consider taking our membership class and joining New Creation Church.
Becoming a member will give you...
- Leaders who are committed to looking after the welfare of your soul (Hebrews 13:17) and to working with you for your joy in Jesus (2 Cor. 1:24).
- A family of believers committed to loving you, praying for you, and keeping you accountable in your Christian life (Heb. 3:12–15).
- The opportunity to serve in the various spiritual ministries we have (Music etc.) as a "member" of the "body" (1 Cor. 12).
What follows is our "Membership Covenant." Those who would like to join our Church must be willing to publicly make these promises to their fellow believers. This covenant is simply our attempt to summarize and clarify the kind of lifestyle we believe the Bible expects of every Christian everywhere.
New Creation Church Membership Covenant
1) Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to receive Jesus Christ as the Lord, Savior, and, supreme Treasure of our lives, and, on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
2) We resolve, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love, to strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness and peace; to promote its spirituality and fruitfulness; to sustain its worship, ordinances, and discipline; to welcome, and test biblically, instruction from the Scriptures by the pastors of the church which accords with our Church’s Affirmation of Faith, seeking to grow toward biblical unity in the truth of the gospel; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel to all nations.
3) We also resolve to regularly engage in the spiritual disciplines of Bible reading, prayer, and Christian fellowship; to read the Bible to our children and seek to raise them up in the faith; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances; to walk wisely in the world as those whose citizenship is in heaven; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our behavior—whether public or private, to avoid all tattling, backbiting and excessive anger; to seek God’s help in abstaining from all forms of sexual immorality, substance abuse, and any other practices which bring unnecessary harm to the body or jeopardize our own or another’s faith.
4) We further resolve to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.
5) We moreover resolve that, should we leave this local church, we will, if possible, unite with a like-minded church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant.
6) We acknowledge that implicit within this covenant is the consent to be governed by any and all Relational Commitments that have been officially adopted by the church and that address peacemaking and reconciliation, accountability and church discipline, marriage and divorce, counseling and confidentiality, and the protection of our children.