“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” – Romans 12:4–5
Membership in the local church is not like membership to a country club or civic group. Church membership is unique. Calvary Baptist Church is a family, adopted by God (Gal. 4:6-7; Eph. 1:5). From Him we receive the privilege to be His children, worship Jesus together, and serve in His cause. We care for one another, pray for one another, and serve one another.
Guests are always welcome within our household. For those interested in transitioning from guest to family member, we invite you to review our beliefs, and speak with one of our pastors. Members are expected to be passionate followers of Jesus & His Word and give hearty agreement to our Membership Covenant and Doctrinal Statement. A guest is one who attends some services but remains outside the church family, and separated from the protection, accountability, and care that comes with being an active member of the church. Members, on the other hand, participate in the life and ministries of the church.
Members sacrifice time, talents, and treasure and commit themselves to the care of their fellow members, to their leaders, and to the mission of the Gospel in the world. In short, guests demonstrate interest, membership demands commitment.
Why become a member?
Scripture calls us a body, a family, a household – being a Christian is not a solo effort. The plan of God for the local church is for believers to commit themselves unto each other and to a doctrinal creed, and to submit themselves unto called and duly appointed leadership, with the goal of glorifying God through building up the saints and seeking the salvation of the lost. Membership opens the door to active participation
“Do I need to be baptized to be a member? And what exactly is baptism anyway?”
Since Jesus commands that all of his disciples be baptized, baptism is a prerequisite for CBC members (Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38, 41; 10:48; 18:8; 1 Peter 3:21).
Baptism is the initiation rite of Christianity… Acts 2:41; 8:12-13, 36-38; 10:47-48; 18:8; 22:16, Every journey has a beginning, and for Christianity baptism is it.
Baptism is all about Jesus… Romans 6:3-6, Its about His life, death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism points to Jesus as the one who secures forgiveness and resurrection life!
Baptism is for believers… Acts 2:41; 8:12-13; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:14-15, 31-33, There is not ONE single example in Scripture where people are baptized before they believe.
Baptism is not for babies.
Baptism is immediate… Acts 2:41; 16:33
Baptism is by immersion… “baptize” means to immerse, dunk, dip, or dye.
Baptism is a symbol…
- Baptism symbolizes grace. It is not about what you do for God, but about what God has done for you in Christ. You don’t baptize yourself, you receive baptism passively.
- Baptism symbolizes our connection to Jesus (Rom 6:1-4). Standing in the water represents your pre-Christian condition. Being dunked under the water depicts dying to sin and self with Jesus as he died for you on the cross. And coming up out of the water visualizes what it means to be united to Jesus in his resurrection.
- Baptism symbolizes the forgiveness of sins. Acts 2:38 w/ 3:19
- Baptism symbolizes membership. You are not the only person who has been baptized. You join the community of the baptized (Acts 2:41-42).
Baptism is not required for justification… Eph 2:8-9; Gal 2:21; Tit 3:5
Baptism is not optional… it is a non-saving, but nevertheless, non-optional part of the Christian faith. Now that you have trusted in Jesus alone to save you from your sins, you follow his command to be baptized (Matt 28:18-20; Acts 2:38).
Baptism is a prerequisite for entering the membership of a local church and for participating in communion…
- Just as baptism is the initiation rite of Christianity, so Communion is the continuation rite of Christianity. You can’t continue something you haven’t started.
- Baptism comes before entering the life of the church.
Direct Biblical Evidences for Membership in the Early Church
The following are seven evidences that the early church had some concept of local church membership.
- Their leaders were responsible for giving an account of their leadership (Heb 13:17) and the church was asked to submit to their leaders (1Tim 5:17; Heb 13:17).
- They kept numerical records, tracking growth (Acts 2:37–47).
- They kept records of widows (1 Tim 5:3–16).
- They held elections to appoint deacons (Acts 6:1–6).
- They exercised church discipline (Mat 18:15–20; 1Cor 5; Gal 6:1).
- They had an awareness of who was a church member (Rom 16:1–16).
- Elders care for specific people (Acts 20:24-30; 1Pet 5:1-5)
- Most of the epistles were written “to the church” in given places (1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 2:1; Gal 1:2; Eph 1:2; Phi 1:1; 1Ths 1:1; 2Ths 1:1; Rev 1:4).
To be capable of fulfilling any of these functions, the church had to be organized with some sort of membership.
Indirect Evidence for Church Membership in the New Testament
Salvation is an individual experience that leads to involvement with a new community, the church. The church in the New Testament is likened to a human body and a family.
When you are saved, the Holy Spirit integrates you into the Body of Christ. This means that you are now a part of Jesus’ body on earth, which is the church (1 Cor. 12:12–17).
Your work within the church is also compared to working together as a family (1 Tim. 3:15; 5:1–2). In Christ, you are adopted into God’s family. You are now his son or daughter and have a multitude of new brothers and sisters in Christ. In Christ, you are a member of a new family (Rom. 12:4–5; Eph. 2:18–19).
For the New Testament authors to use such metaphors to describe the church indicates that we should know who are the members of the body and family.
Remember, your church is FAMILY!