WHAT IS CHURCH MEMBERSHIP?
We at Disciple Church believe it is important and necessary to be a committed member of a local church. Being a member of a local church is like being a member of a local family. As members of Disciple Church, we have a duty to reflect the character and beauty of Jesus Christ through the pursuit of living in a covenant relationship of love and service. The following is a teaching that describes why membership is important and what it is all about at our church.
REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP
The requirements to become a member of Disciple Church is clear and simple.
An individual must be a publicly professing, born-again disciple of Jesus Christ who is willing and able to agree and uphold the Covenant of Membership at Disciple Church.
An individual must have shown their commitment to Jesus and His local church by publicly being baptized by immersion.
The membership process at Disciple Church is clear and simple.
Notify church leadership that you are interested in becoming a member
Submit your personal information in person or electronically HERE
Attend and participate in the membership classes held by the elders
Interview as a candidate for membership sharing your spiritual journey
Review & sign this Membership Covenant document HERE
Celebrate as you are publicly accepted into membership at a member meeting
DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES OF MEMBERSHIP
Scripture instructs Christians to live together in local churches. In order to fulfill Scriptural responsibilities in following Christ according to His will, it is incumbent on every believer to unite with other believers in submission to the lordship of Christ in a local church.
Section 1: Means of Grace
All public and private means of grace, such as honoring the Lord’s Day, faithful in-person attendance at the stated meetings of the church, daily systematic reading of the Bible, prayer, and family worship shall be urged upon our members.
Section 2: Marriage and Family Life
Marriage is ordained by God and is exclusively a covenant relationship between one man and one woman. Because God has ordained marriage and defined it as the covenant relationship between one man, one woman, and Himself, Disciple Church will only recognize marriages between a biological man and a biological woman. Further, the pastors and staff of Disciple Church shall only participate in weddings and solemnize marriages between one man and one woman. Finally, the facilities and property of Disciple Church shall not host any weddings or marriage celebrations except those that are between one man and one woman. Christians who are married to each other are to relate to each other not only as husband and wife but also as brother and sister in Christ.
Christians who are married to unbelievers should strive to influence their homes for the glory of God by commending the gospel and demonstrating its power in their lives according to apostolic instructions found in 1 Corinthians 7:12–16 and 1 Peter 3:1–7.
Unmarried Christian adults should live faithfully to Jesus Christ in all their relationships and use the opportunities their singleness affords them for the advancement of the gospel and the prosperity of the church according to the apostolic instructions found in 1 Corinthians 7. The church expects its members to follow the Scriptures in home government. God has required that
godliness in the home have a high priority in every life. The home holds a central attention in God’s Law and is the object of frequent exhortation in the New Testament. Husbands are expected to rule their homes with gentleness but firmness. They are to love their wives sacrificially with a Christ-like love and
are to give leadership to the spiritual vitality of the home. Wives must be subject to and respectful of their husbands as to the Lord. Parents should train up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4) by holy example, catechizing, consistent Christian education, and firm, loving discipline (including the careful, measured, biblical use of the rod of correction—Proverbs 13:24; 22:15; 23:13–14; 29:15). Children must reverently honor and obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1–3). These primary responsibilities, prayerfully executed, will honor the name of Christ in the community and strengthen the cause of Christ in generations to come.
Section 3: Missions and Witnessing
It is the duty of every church of Christ to seek to extend the Gospel to the ends of the earth. This work is to make disciples of Christ who will, in turn, make more disciples, and plant biblical churches that will, in turn, plant other churches (Matthew 28:18–20, Acts 14:21-23). Evangelistic and missionary efforts are the natural consequence of regeneration (Psalm 51:10–15). Proclaiming the Gospel is the duty of every child of God to witness by word, deed and lifestyle and so personal efforts to make disciples for Christ are expected of every member (1 Peter 2:9-12). Beyond this, we are committed to cooperative efforts for sending the Gospel to the ends of the earth (Philippians 1:3-5, 12-13) with special focus to be given on church planting endeavors, especially among those considered unreached or least reached (Romans 15:15-20).
Section 4: Principles of Giving
It is clearly taught in Scripture that Christians are to support the work of the Lord by systematic, proportionate and sacrificial offerings made through the local church. This is set forth in both positive command and favorable example (Malachi 3:8–11; 1 Corinthians 16:1–2; 2 Corinthians 8, 9). Therefore, we pledge ourselves to contribute regularly, faithfully, and sacrificially to the support of this church in recognition that all that we have has come to us from God and He is worthy of being worshipped with gifts and offerings (Psalm 96:8). We believe in and encourage the principle of regularly and minimally giving “tithes” or “first fruits” to the Lord (Genesis 4:4, 14:20, 28:22; Matthew 23:23; Hebrews 7:9), which in our church is designed to be given to the general fund. Any other, above and beyond giving, such as benevolence or
love offerings, may be given freely at each member’s desire and frequency. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Section 5: Christian Liberty
We shall require of each other in our daily responsibilities and relationships loyal obedience to all those moral precepts established in the Word of God (Hebrews 10:24, 25). However, where God has not prohibited certain practices in His Word, the Christian has liberty to participate in them with discretion and care. The following prioritized principles must always guide the Christian’s exercise of liberty:
A. FEAR OF GOD — As servants of Christ, all actions must be motivated by love to God first, and all objects must be used for His glory. Although there are human institutions ordained by God for the common good, Christian liberty is to be rightly ordered to reflect Christ as the supreme and only Sovereign, both in heaven and on the earth (Romans 13:1-7; Psalm 2; Colossians 1:15-18). The term “liberty” must not be used as a cloak for malicious self-indulgence (1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Timothy 4:4,5; 1 Peter 2:15,16), or for fearful cowardice when neglecting to stand for righteousness (Revelation 21:8; Proverbs 28:1; 2 Timothy 1:7)
B. LOVE OF BRETHREN — Though no man may dictate to the Christian’s conscience, the welfare of fellow saints must always deeply affect his decisions. In a spirit of serving the brethren, he must do that which he judges will edify them and prevent their stumbling (Galatians 5:13; 1 Corinthians 10:23; 1 Corinthians 8:9).
C. COMPASSION FOR THE UNCONVERTED — Use of liberty must consider by its effect upon sinners, and that behavior chosen which is likely to win some (1 Corinthians 9:19–22).
D. WATCHFULNESS OVER THE SOUL — Though free in conscience to use all of God’s creation, carefulness in practice is demanded because of remaining evil desires. Where the Christian judges himself weak in his flesh, he must abstain to persevere in the faith (Galatians 5:16; 1 Corinthians 9:24–27).
Section 6: Support of Church Officers
It is the duty of every member to respect the appointed officers of the church. Church members should recognize that the elders and deacons who serve among them do so by the authority of God’s Word and for the spiritual welfare of the whole body. Therefore, every member should encourage and pray for the elders and deacons in their respective ministries.
Specifically, members should be ready to assist the deacons in protecting the unity of the church and caring for the practical needs of the membership and community at large. This includes a willingness to use personal gifts and resources in caring for others. It also includes helping the deacons be aware of needs in the church and community and cooperating with them in practical ways to assist them in fulfilling their responsibilities (Acts 6:1–7).
It is the duty of every member to recognize that God gives to His church men to serve as spiritual leaders who give oversight to local congregations. These elders of the church are to be “esteemed very highly in love because of their work” (1 Thessalonians 5:12–13). Members are to submit to and follow them because they keep watch over the souls of the congregation as those who must give an account to God for their ministry (Hebrews 13:17a). Every member is admonished by God’s Word to encourage the elders to fulfill
their duties “with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17b). Church members are called to follow the example of the elders as far as warranted by the Word (1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1; Philippians 3:17; Hebrews 13:7), to stand by them, in all their trials and afflictions, defending them in all good causes, as far as in them lies (2 Timothy 1:15, 4:16), and to avoid exposing their weaknesses, remembering that the prosperity of the Gospel depends much on their good report. Furthermore, no member is to receive an accusation against an elder unless it is supported by evidence that can be validated by two or more witnesses (1 Timothy 5:19).
Section 7: Controversy
Any matter involving controversy within this church, within the officers, or between the congregation and the officers, if it threatens to cause dissension and injury to the welfare of the church, must be called to the attention of the elders as soon as possible by any member of the congregation aware of the situation. Upon the situation where the elders deem it wise or necessary in assisting to relieve cases of severe dissension, in any such matter the elders may call upon outside advisors for assistance or as is detailed in the Second
London Baptist Confession of 1689 (26.15).