Church Membership

Church Membership

complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:2, ESV)

Dear friends,

It has been a real privilege for me to have had the opportunity to speak on church membership to you in too-short moments over the last several weeks.

Now that we are only a week and a half away from the first members joining Covenant Church, I’ve written what’s below as a compilation of that which we’ve discussed and added some additional information that I pray will be helpful to you.

There's probably nothing so counter-cultural to Los Angeles and Burbank as publicly committing to something.

In church membership, you'll have opportunity to publicly profess your faith in Jesus and to commit to being a part of this church.

Some of you have scheduled meetings with me to discuss church membership and whether you should become a member – thank you! If you would like to speak with me about church membership, please do not hesitate to let me know. I can’t think of anything I enjoy more than talking about God and the church with the people of God!

As you're considering membership, it may be helpful for you to look through the vision for Covenant Church, available at the link below.

Covenant Church Vision
Below you’ll find a vision and stories about Covenant Church, a church that, as I’m writing this in 2023, is just starting in Burbank.

Here's an article from The Gospel Coalition and Kevin DeYoung that I think is helpful to consider.

Why Membership Matters
“Why bother with church membership?” I’ve been asked that question on numerous occasions. Sometimes it’s said with genuine curiosity–“So explain to me what membership is all about.” Other times it’s said with a tinge of suspicion–“So tell me again, why do you think I should become a member?”–as if joining the church automatically signed you up to tithe by direct deposit. For many Christians membership sounds stiff, something you have at your bank or the country club, but too formal for the church. Even if it’s agreed that Christianity is not a lone ranger religion, that we need community and…

What is the Church?

The ARP Form of Government says this: “There is but one Church set forth in the Scriptures. This Church in all ages is one and the same, and consists of those who by faith are in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Those who belong to Jesus Christ, by their faith in him, make up the church. This is to the glory of the one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And this is a wondrous thing, that the church whom Christ loves is not defined by worldly status, material wealth, or earthly wisdom. But simply by receiving the finished work of Christ and resting upon him as savior and Lord.

Where is the Church?

The church isn’t a building or a place. The church is a people. Wherever people have faith in Jesus as he has revealed himself in Scripture, there is the church.

Where is Covenant Church?

Scattered throughout Los Angeles County until the Lord’s Day when we gather together for worship and other times that we gather.

What are the Privileges of Joining Covenant Church?

Joining Covenant Church is exciting and there are privileges that come with membership.

According to the ARP Form of Government 4.1,

  • Church members can vote in congregational meetings
  • Qualified church members can hold the office of elder or deacon
  • Church members have the right to participate in the Lord’s Supper
  • Church members can present their children for baptism

I’ll also add that church members are in a special way under the spiritual care of the elders of the church.

Will Covenant Church be Open Only To Members?

Absolutely not!

Membership is an opportunity to make a special commitment to walking with the Lord and this particular church, but every worship service and every event will continue to remain open to everyone.

What are the Responsibilities of Church Membership?

Church members have responsibility to:

  • Make diligent use of the means of grace.
    • Including reading Scripture and hearing it preached
    • Participating in the Sacraments
    • Prayer
  • Share faithfully in the worship and service of the Church.
  • Give of their substance as the Lord may prosper them.
  • Render wholehearted service to Christ and His Kingdom throughout the world.
  • Continue in the peace and fellowship of the people of God.
  • Submit to the authority of the elders.
  • Live so as to bear faithful witness to the Gospel.

What are the Vows that Church Members Make when Joining?

On Church Membership Sunday, all joining the church will be asked to make vows before God and those present. Those vows are:

  • Do you confess that you are a sinner in the sight of God; that you deserve His punishment; that you are unable to save yourself; and that you are without hope of salvation except for God’s love and mercy?
  • Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of sinners; and do you receive and trust in Him alone for your salvation?
  • Do you accept the Bible, comprised of the Old and New Testaments, as the written Word of God; and that it is the only perfect rule of faith and how to live?
  • Do you promise to trust in the guidance and strength of the Holy Spirit so that you can live all of life as a Christian, following the example set by Jesus
  • Do you promise to exercise faithful stewardship of God’s resources entrusted to you for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom and purposes?
  • Do you accept that the doctrines and principles of the Standards of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church are founded upon the Scriptures?
  • In loving obedience, do you submit yourself to the government and discipline of this church, promising to seek the peace, purity, and prosperity of this congregation as long as you are a member of it?

What's the Process for Joining?

Soon, you'll be hearing from Covenant Church's provisional elders, Mike and Marty. They'll contact you to ask you about your faith in the Lord Jesus, and your desire to live faithfully as a member of Covenant Church.

And then on Sunday February 25, those who are joining will be called up to the front to be asked the seven vows above.

Will There be Other Opportunities to Join?

Yes! Depending on several factors, we hope to be offering opportunities to join at least yearly, but perhaps every six months.

Thank you!

I thank you for reading this! Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions at 818-237-4251.

It's a joy to be with you.

In Christ,

-Pastor Brooks