Is it hard to become a member?

In the early Christian church, new believers had to go through a rigorous process of preparation for baptism that sometimes lasted for years. They were examined about their life and habits and had to bring witnesses to their moral character. If they had certain occupations (like gladiators or actors) they were asked to change careers. Finally, they spent 40 days in intense prayer and fasting before they appeared for baptism.

Fortunately, for the modern believer, the process is just a little easier. If you are interested in becoming a member, you can just speak to our pastor and she will be happy to make that happen. Usually, there are two ways adults become members, depending on their previous church life. You can join through a transfer of your membership from another church, or by making a public statement, which is simply standing in front of the church and affirming your faith in Jesus Christ and your desire to follow and serve in his way.

 

Do I have to join? Nope. We welcome all persons to worship and fellowship with us, regardless of your previous amount of churchiness.

 

So why should I join? Membership does have at least one advantage: members get to vote when we elect new elders each year. The elders make up the session, which is our governing board. There are a few other important things that get voted on, and only members vote. So if you want a voice, it is good to be an official member.

 

Can I take communion if I am not a member? Yes. Jesus ate and drank with all kinds of people, and so do we. We believe that Christ is the real host at the table of the Lord’s Supper, and welcomes all who seek him.

 

Do I have to get re-baptized? We believe in one God, and one baptism. If you have previously been baptized, that is good enough for us. If it has been a long time since you were part of a church and you would like a way to recognize a new spiritual path, we have services for the renewal of baptism vows that you might find meaningful. The whole church has the opportunity to do that once a year, and you can also request the service at other times.

 

Will you ask me for money? You betcha. But not very often. We hope that if you stick around for a while, you will want to be a part of making church happen.  It takes money to run a church, and we rely on the generosity of church members to give as they see fit to cover our expenses. Many members pledge a certain amount of their income as a spiritual discipline. Other members prefer to put money in the offering plate as they feel they can. So far, that approach works. We also ask everyone in the church to consider giving of their time, taking on volunteer jobs like leading worship, mowing the grass, teaching a class, or singing in the choir. Somehow, it works.

 

I heard this is the liberal church. Is that right? We have a mix of people here who belong every possible place on the theological and political spectrum. Some of us are quite progressive and some of us think the old ways are just fine. The great thing is, we get along. We love each other. And chances are, if you will give us a chance, we will love you too.