What is Church Membership?
Church membership is a formal relationship between a local church and a Christian characterized by the church’s affirmation and oversight of a Christian’s discipleship and the Christian’s submission to living out his or her discipleship in the care of the church. The church body says to the individual, “We recognize your profession of faith, baptism, and discipleship to Christ as valid. Therefore, we publicly affirm and acknowledge you before the nations as belonging to Christ, and we extend the oversight of our fellowship.” Principally, the individual says to the church body, “Insofar as I recognize you as a faithful, gospel-declaring church, I submit my presence and my discipleship to your love and oversight.”
Basis for Membership
The leadership team of MSCC believes church membership is an important step, both for the spiritual growth of the individual, and for the spiritual health of the church. Although we do not see a specific process outlined in the Bible, we believe several texts in the New Testament affirm the importance of church membership.
John 10:16: In his use of the Shepherd metaphor, Jesus refers to a sheep “fold’ his followers belong to, suggesting their identification as his sheep.He says his sheep don’t wander in and out of the fold, and it is not at their discretion to participate in the fold. He brings them in, he protects them and he keeps them.
Matthew 18:15-17: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault…if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you…If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” The ability to apply church discipline, and exclude someone from the church presupposes it’s known who belongs in the church.
Acts 5:12-13: “Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem.” People had to decide whether they would join the church in Jerusalem. This joining appears to be more public and definite than an informal association.
1. Submit a "Membership Application"
(This is a downloadable document)
2. Enroll in "MSCC Membership Orientation"
This is a 3-session class that will be conducted
Sunday mornings from 8:30-10:00. The first class
will be Aug. 13th, 20th & 27th. Another 3-session
will be Sept. 10th, 17th & 24th. One single-session
class will be Sat., August 19th, from 9am to 1pm.
3. Read "What We Teach"
This is available on our site: About Us > What We
Believe > Doctrinal Statement
(This document can also be downloaded.)
4. Read "The Affirmation of Commitment"
(This is a downloadable document.)
5. Review the MSCC By-Laws
(Available from the church office.)
6. Schedule a Pastoral Interview
Call the church office to make an appointment.
1 Corinthians 5:12-13: “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside.” Paul called upon the Corinthian church to judge those who were inside the church, suggesting they could be identified. They were responsible for the testimony of those who belonged to the church. This text would be difficult to apply if the Corinthian church didn’t have some public, formal means by which people identified with it as members.
2 Corinthians 2:6: Paul writes concerning a man who was excommunicated by the Corinthian church, “For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.” This man’s exclusion from the church was a punishment by the majority. A majority suggests the need for a defined set of people from which a majority is determined.
1 Corinthians 12-14: The NT knows nothing of a Christian experience that focuses on “attendance” only. As members of the body of Christ, Christians are given spiritual gifts to be exercised for the edification of the other members of the body. The individual parts of the body are directly related to each other in an organic and familial relationship that is only given expression through consistent connection to the whole body.
Feel free to contact the church office, if you have any questions about the process, or would like to enroll in one of the scheduled Membership Classes.