Definition of Membership

Membership in church is a voluntary commitment of an individual to be identified as belonging to a certain fellowship of believers. By this relationship the individual is inviting accountability to the teachings of the Bible, pursuing maturity in the likeness of Jesus Christ and seeking participation in the mission of God for the Church.

Biblical Requirements for Membership In The Body of Christ

According to the Bible the Church consists of believers in Jesus Christ who have been called out or set apart from the world for divine purposes. The citizenship of members in the Church is spiritual and heavenly (Colossians 3:1; Ephesians 1:3). Members are those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as their personal Savior (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9). When an individual is saved, he/she is immediately included in “the church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23). Marks of a true believer are that he/she loves and desires the fellowship of other believers (I John 3:23), and he/she lives a life that corresponds to his/her profession of faith (I John 3:6, 8).

Living Word Church expects what the Bible expects…

Many churches have so many people on their membership rolls who give little or no evidence of Christian commitment or even conversion. Often, these churches find it difficult to motivate members to give, serve, pray and share their faith. We believe God has called us to commit ourselves to Christ and then to His church. While becoming a Christian means to commit yourself to Christ, becoming a church member means to commit yourself to other Christians. It is a commitment to a specific group of believers – to practice the one-another’s of the New Testament. 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” (GN). At Living Word Church, we call these the first step commitments. You commit yourself to Christ for salvation and then you commit yourself to other Christians for membership in our church family. In our church we define koinonia (fellowship) as “being as committed to each other as we are to Jesus Christ.” Jesus said that our love for each other was to be the mark of discipleship (John 13:33-34). We believe it’s an indictment of American Christianity that most believers can quote John 3:16 but they can’t quote 1 John 3:16: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” The phrases “one another” or “each other” is used more than 50 times in the New Testament. 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, honor 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. These are the responsibilities of membership.

At Living Word Church, we only expect of our members what the Bible clearly expects of all believers. These expectations are summarized in our Membership Covenant. Throughout the Bible and church history, spiritual covenants have been made between people in order for mutual edification and accountability.

We have three requirements for membership:

1) A personal profession of Christ as Lord and Savior.
2) Completion of the New Members Class.
3) A signed commitment to abide by Living Word Church’s membership covenant.

Living Word Church Membership Covenant

Having received Christ as my Lord and Savior and being in agreement with Living Word Church statements, strategy, and structure, I now feel led by the Holy Spirit to unite with the Living Word Church family. In doing so, I commit myself to God and to the other members to do the following:

…By acting in love toward other members
…By refusing to gossip
…By following the leaders
“So let us concentrate on the things which make for harmony, and on the growth of our fellowship together.” Rom. 15:19 (Ph)
“Have a sincere love for your fellow believers, love one another earnestly with all your hearts.” 1 Peter 1:22 (TEV)
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs…” Eph. 4:29
“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be no advantage to you.” Heb. 13:17

…By praying for its growth
…By inviting the unchurched to attend
…By warmly welcoming those who visit
“To the church … we always thank God for you and pray for you constantly.” 1 Thess. 1:2
“The Master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes, and urge the people there to come so my house will be full.’” Luke 14:23 (NCV)
“So, warmly welcome each other into the church, just as Christ has warmly welcomed you; then God will be glorified.” Rom. 15:7 (LB)

…By discovering my gifts and talents
…By being equipped to serve by my pastors
…By developing a servant’s heart
“Serve one another with the particular gifts God has given each of you…” 1 Peter 4:10 (Ph)
“God gave…some to be pastors and teachers to prepare God’s people for works of ministry, so that the body of Christ may be built up…” Eph. 4:11-12
“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ…who took on the very nature of a servant…” Phil. 2:3-4, 7

…By attending faithfully
…By living a godly life
…By giving regularly
“Let us not give up the habit of meeting together…but let us encourage one another.” Heb. 10:25
“But whatever happens, make sure that your everyday life is worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Phil. 1:27 (Ph)
“Each one of you, on the first day of each week, should set aside a specific sum of money in proportion to what you have earned and use it for the offering.” 1 Cor. 16:2
“A tenth of all your produce is the Lord’s, and it is holy.” Lev. 27:30

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