WHY MEMBERSHIP & WHAT IT MEANS
Importance of Membership
1. Scripture implies it.
Even though we do not see the words “church member” or “joining the church” in the New Testament, the concept is clearly present. (This is true just as the word “Trinity” does not appear, but the NT clearly and distinctly affirms and describes it).
a) The NT assumes an organized fellowship of believers, assembled with a clear structure,
purpose, and shared commonality.
b) The early church demanded there to be doctrinal agreement and allegiance (Acts 15).
c) The NT makes differentiation between the “whole church,” “the brethren,” and “the congregation.”
d) The church expected financial accountability.
e) The church selected its leadership.
f) The church practiced discipline and spiritual accountability.
Clearly, for all of the above to be true, there must have been involved participation of what we at least would call “members.”
2. It enables us to have a covenant relationship with one another.
I. At salvation we are called into a covenant (promise, commitment) relationship with God through Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:25)
II. This covenant relationship with Christ unites us as believers to one another. God's purpose for our lives is to have us identify ourselves with a local body of believers (i.e. local church) – Hebrews 10:24-25; 13:17; Ephesians 5:3; 1 Corinthians 5:1,4-5.
III. Membership is the way we covenant with each other to fulfill the many commands God gives to believers in their relationship with one another in the local church.
3. It enables us to have a loving accountability for life and ministry.
God has ordained church discipline as a merciful means of helping believers be delivered from sinful practices and hindrances in their lives.
In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, along with my spirit and with the power of our Lord Jesus, turn that one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast permeates the whole batch of dough? (1 Corinthians 5:5)
Hymenaeus and Alexander are among them, and I have delivered them to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme. (1 Timothy 1:20)
If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he won't listen, take one or two more with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established. If he pays no attention to them, tell the church. But if he doesn't pay attention even to the church, let him be like an unbeliever and a tax collector to you. (Matthew 18:15-17)
4. It enables you to have “ownership” and a voice in the direction of the overall ministry.
Church members are responsible for the choosing and accountability of our church leaders and approval of church budgets, expenditures, and property. (Acts 6:3-4)
5. It enables you to serve in positions of teaching and leadership.
At PBC we believe in making every reasonable effort to provide people with opportunities to minister – even if they are not yet members of our church. However, we also have tried to limit two areas of ministry to those who have become members of our church family.
2. Ministry Leaders
In the interests of ministerial integrity, consistency, and effectiveness, we feel that it is important that those who are overseeing ministries and regularly presenting the Word have committed themselves to our church, our church covenant, PBC Articles of Faith and fellow members.
The following is a list of some of the expectations we (as Pastors, Deacons and fellow members) will expect and desire to see in the lives, attitudes and relationships of one another. This is not a list of absolute requirements or a threat of automatic excommunication (dis-fellowship) as a result of failure to meet. Rather, it is a list of what we will be teaching, persuading, looking for and holding reasonably accountable for each of our members.
1) Participation, regularly and frequently involved in the full life and ministry of the church (not just a Sunday morning observer). Join a ministry team
2) Service and Compassion, actively and personally involved as co-ministers of the Lord both within the church and in the community as a representative first of Jesus and second of PBC.
3) Giving of our time and talents per the above, and of our finances and material goods. We believe and encourage that all church members embrace the Scriptural principles of regular tithing (ideally, giving the first 10% of gross earnings) and special gifts and offerings.
4) Consistent Christian Lifestyle. We should be just as concerted in our desire, determination and effort (through the Spirit) to represent the fullness of His character and purpose outside of the church as we are inside it. Our choices, activities, humor and associations should all be reflective of God's glory.
5) Voluntary Total Abstinence. As Christ's ambassadors (1 Co. 5:18) and our brother's/sister's “keepers,” we will choose to avoid even the hint of immorality, hypocrisy, or “gateway” temptation (Eph. 5:3). We choose this not only for ourselves, but for the sake of others. Even those things which are commonly deemed “permissible” or fall into the grey area of uncertainty, we will willing forgo for the greater good As Scripture says (1 Co. 10:23-24): "Everything is permissible," but not everything is helpful. "Everything is permissible," but not everything builds up. No one should seek his own good, but the good of the other person. Therefore, all PBC members are asked to voluntarily abstain from all sexual promiscuity, pornography, alcohol, nicotine, non-prescribed drugs, overuse of prescribed medications, gambling, any media (music, television, movies, video games, Internet sites, etc.) or dancing that is not edifying to the Lord, vulgar language, “tasteless” humor, secret societies, any hint of the occult, witchcraft, or astrology, and unnecessary violence.
6) Sanctity of Human Life. We are for the preservation of God's special creation (human beings) and fundamentally opposed to any means or proposals to limit, devalue, or arbitrarily eliminate human life at any stage of development. We oppose abortion in any except (possibly) the most rare cases of extreme danger to the mother's physical life (and even then, we don't encourage it but recognize it as a decision to be made by the immediate family). Further, we oppose euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, eugenics, embryonic stem cell research, genetic engineering, and human 'cloning.' We encourage all church members to be actively involved in opposing these immoral actions and supporting acceptable alternative solutions.
7) Sanctity of Marriage & Family. We believe committed Christian members of our church should uphold the sacred role of traditional marriage (between one man and one woman, united before and in Christ) for as long as they both shall live! We believe that the Lord abhors divorce and such is contrary to His design for us. All means should be taken to avoid this.
8) Practice of Spiritual Disciplines. Members' spiritual lives should include regular attention to the spiritual disciplines such as: prayer & meditation, fasting, Scripture reading, Scripture memorization, simplicity, submission, service, confession, worship (private and public) and celebration.
9) Honoring Spiritual Authority. Whether we always like or not, God is a God of order, which He extends to our interrelationships. While we are all equal in value to Him, He has appointed each of us different roles, responsibilities and positions. All members are expected to honor and submit to those whom the Lord has placed in a position of spiritual authority over us (even if we don't always agree with or like them). Of course, if doing so presents a legitimate significant danger or violation of a clear biblical principle, we must obey God before man.
10) Stewardship of God's Creation. From the beginning of creation, the LORD has commissioned mankind as His stewards over all of His creation. While we are not in any way to deify, humanize or spiritualize His non-human creation, we are responsible to reasonably care for, preserve and delight in it as His Handiwork and for His pleasure and glory!
11) Community of Grace. Even as we are to encourage one another to grow in the Lord and live in His purity and holiness, we recognize that we are first and foremost people of grace. We recognize that all (most of all ourselves) have sinned, remain weak and with the propensity to sin. Further, we recognize our own faults, weaknesses and failures and that to the degree that we are able to live honorably for the Lord is only by His grace and enablement. Therefore, as we have been freely forgiven, we will generously forgive others and as we have received undeserved grace so we will extend it to one another.
12) Modesty. Our choice of dress, make-up, accessorizing, language, body positioning and attitude should be reflected by modesty so as to honor the Lord and respect our brothers and sisters by not unnecessarily offending, distracting or tempting them. We recognize that “modesty” is an amorphous term that may be understood differently by different individuals and in different circumstances. As representatives of God and PBC, we will choose to be careful and thoughtful in considering others and not just our own perspective. (see Romans 15)
13) Non-Discrimination. PBC and its members recognize that all people are created equal in intrinsic value before the Lord and, therefore, one another. While we do recognize that we all have different personalities, perspectives, gifts, abilities, strengths and weaknesses, are in different places in our emotional and spiritual maturation, and are more or less inclined or qualified for certain roles and responsibilities, that does not in any way diminish or elevate one's value as a human being or child of God! In the same manner, there shall be no discrimination on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, appearance, or physical or mental limitations.
14) The Christian Home. We affirm the absolute importance of establishing a strong Christian presence and character in each of our homes. We believe the purpose of the family is to glorify and honor God by forming the spiritual, emotional, physical, and economic foundation for individuals, the church and society. We are committed to upholding the concept of family as God's original and primary means of multiplying God's “image” and His values from generation to generation.
15) Christian Education. We affirm the value and responsibility we have to seek and obtain Christian Education for ourselves and our children at every opportunity. God has entrusted and made us stewards over His children and we have a responsibility to turn to all godly tools at our disposal to mold lives for Christ. PBC members should be diligent and committed in enrolling, maintaining and supporting their children's participation in all children's and youth ministries and the Perth Bible Christian Academy if at all possible.
All members of PBC are accountable to one another (2 Th. 3:15; 1 Pt. 1:22l 1 Jn. 3:16) and the designated leadership (Romans 13:1-5).
Does this mean that everyone has a right to be our judge and jury? No!
As members, we voluntarily agree to give one another permission to appropriately, lovingly, fairly, and Scripturally help one another to reject sin and increasingly grow in our Christian “walk” - doing so both in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).
However, we are disqualified from confronting another about a sin that we are personally guilty of and are not willing to admit and confront as well (Mt. 7:1-6).
Requirements For Membership
There are essentially four requirements for membership at PBC:
1. Spiritual re-birth by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (salvation).
2. Baptism by immersion following salvation
3. Acceptance of PBC Statement of Faith and Constitution (Please click the links below)
4. Willful desire to join this covenant community.
Steps To Membership
1. Application. An application may be found below on this page, downloaded, or obtained in physical form from the church office, should be completely filled out, then returned to the church office.
2. Interview with a representative(s) of the Board of Deacons and/or pastoral staff.
3. Recommendation from the board and pastors to the congregation.
4. Vote to accept the person(s) into membership. A simple majority vote of members present at any called business meeting of the church.
OUR CHURCH COVENANT
By what common and gracious experience do we enter into spiritual fellowship and covenant relations with God and with one another?
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and on the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, we do now in the presence of God, angels, and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ.
What is the great bond of our union with God and each other?
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in Christian love.
What are our great privileges and duties in this our own church?
To strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline and doctrines.
What vows do we gladly make as stewards of that which God has entrusted to us?
To contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel throughout all nations.
For the sake of our homes and our loved ones, what gracious tasks do we humbly assume?
We also engage to maintain family and secret devotion; to educate religiously our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances.
For the sake of the unsaved for whom our Savior died to what manner of life and conversation are we solemnly and sincerely pledged?
To walk circumspectly in the world, to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment; to avoid all tattling, backbiting and excessive anger, and to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
Since one is our Master, even Christ, and all we are Brethren, by what fraternal ministries are we to strengthen each other and adorn the teachings of our Lord and Savior?
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember each other in prayer; to aid each other in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense but always ready for reconciliation, and mindful of the rules of our Savior to seek it without delay.
Humbly confessing our past sins, we pray for grace and strength to keep these, our holy vows, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen!