Does attending church make me a member?
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:4-5)
In order to be a member of the church, you must be a Christian. A Christian is someone who has come to a place in their lives where they repented of their sin and placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. In recognition of this grace and as our first act of obedience to Jesus, we are baptized in his name.
What is a "member" of the Church?
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. (Romans 12:4-5)
The local congregation is an expression of the greater Church, the community of Christians that spans both geography and time. At Bedford Road, we believe that means that anyone who has come to faith in Jesus Christ is a member with us. This means you are free to worship and serve with us, but we restrict leadership and voice in congregational decisions to our covenant members.
How does covenant membership work?
Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
The covenant membership is open to all believers who are confident God has placed them at Bedford Road. Members go through a workshop, led by one of the elders, which explains our beliefs, polity, and vision. Then they meet with one of the elders to share their faith journey. After this, the elders recommend them to be received into the membership.
Why is covenant membership renewed every year?
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
All commitments should be revisited regularly. Membership needs to be something we take seriously and are invested in, because there is much required of us. This is why we renew our covenants annually. If, at any time, members are not able continue in their active role, they are able to simple let their covenant go without renewal.
Below is our membership covenant, which is affirmed publicly by our members at every Annual Vision & Report meeting.
Having accepted Christ as our Savior, we unite together as a congregation - committed to the beliefs of our Statement of Faith and submitted to the leadership of our elders, as guided by the teachings of Jesus.
Believing we are members together of this local assembly of believers, we covenant before our Lord to create environments where people encounter Jesus and journey together.
We embrace Jesus Christ’s vision for this congregation without reservation and covenant with both Christ and our fellows believers to make this vision a reality. To that end, we join together to:
- Seek God’s glory and the magnification of Jesus Christ in all things.
- Yield to the direction of the Holy Spirit as he guides us to live and speak the Gospel.
- Faithfully and actively participate in our congregation’s worship and ministry, serving those both inside and outside of the church with a humble spirit.
- Support the ministry of our congregation financially, as the Lord gives us the means.
- Resolve conflicts with others peacefully in a way that demonstrates love to all who see.
As the Lord enables me, I will strive to consider and renew our covenant of membership as necessary. If at any time I can no longer commit to this covenant, I will notify the Elders of Bedford Road Baptist Church.