We believe membership in a local church is a blessing in the Christian life! Below you’ll find an extensive explanation of our view on membership. If you would like to speak with a pastor about joining the membership of our church, let us know at the link below.
Should believers join a local church?
There was a period when the matter of church membership was hardly ever questioned. If we were to go back a generation or two, almost every church across the U.S. maintained a roster of members. Numerous modern-day churches uphold the idea of membership but don’t place emphasis on it. Conversely, some opt to forgo formal membership, urging their congregants to participate actively without a structured procedure. We welcome and encourage every believer to look to the Scripture for themselves to determine the validity of our claim that God would desire for every believer to be a member of a local, New Testament church.
As we study Scripture, the term “membership” doesn’t explicitly emerge. Yet, this isn’t a compelling argument against the notion, as the term “Trinity” is also absent from the Bible. Nonetheless, the concept exists.
At the core of membership lies the idea of being part of a covenant community. This is evident in various instances. Paul’s reference to the removal of an individual from the congregation of believers in 1 Corinthians 5 indicates a distinct category. Acts 6 portrays believers engaging in an election, signifying an “in/out” demarcation. Furthermore, 1 Timothy 5:3–16 offers explicit guidance on the treatment of widows within the church. This passage even discusses the compilation of a roster to enable leaders to care for these women effectively.
Although the writers of the New Testament never explicitly state, “You must become a member of your local church,” every epistle in the New Testament presupposes that believers play an active role in the assembly of a local church.
Church membership is an assumed fact of life in the New Testament that the writers take for granted. You see it on the Day of Pentecost, 50 days after Passover and Jesus’ death:
- People were added to God’s family and the local fellowship (Acts 2:41).
- This group of people devoted themselves to learning doctrine and to fellowshipping with each other. In other words, there was a clear understanding about who was who (Acts 2:42).
- They shared goods and funds among each other; again, they know who they are (Acts 2:4446).
- The Lord added people to their number (Acts 2:47), which is both a universal and local reference.
You see it in how the NT letters are addressed:
- “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints,” (Rom 1:7).
- “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours,” (1 Cor 1:2).
- “To the churches of Galatia,” (Gal 1:2).
- “To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus,” (Eph 1:1).
- “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons,” (Phil 1:1).
- “To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae,” (Col 1:2).
- “To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Thess 1:1).
- “To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,” (1 Pet 1:1).
At Vision Baptist Church, we invite believers who have been Scripturally baptized (by immersion) to join in the mission of the local church. Furthermore, we invite you into a covenant-member relationship where we commit to encouraging one another along the way.
It’s a covenant of commitment where you say:
- “I want to serve God with this congregation!”
- “I want to learn about God with this congregation!”
- “I want to learn how to better imitate Christ from the brothers and sisters in this congregation!”
- “I want to be held accountable by brothers and sisters in Christ in this congregation!”
- “I want to pray with and for the brothers and sisters in Christ in this congregation!”
- “I want to use my God-given talents and abilities to carry out the Great Commission with my brothers and sisters in Christ in this congregation!”
- “Lord, I want to serve you here, in and among these brothers and sisters in this particular place!”
Church membership is about:
- Mutual support
- Mutual accountability
- Service to the Lord in community
- A pledge of faithfulness to live your life to the Lord, in all its messy glory, in community with other brothers and sisters in Christ in a particular church, in a particular place
As you prayerfully consider joining our church, please take time to read our church covenant. We would love to answer any questions you may have!
Requirements for Membership
There are two requirements for membership in a baptist church like Vision Baptist Church:
- a person must be born again. The basic Biblical criteria for church membership is being born again
- a person must have been scripturally baptized after they were born again. We define scriptural baptism as that baptism which has been administered by the authority that Jesus gave to His church and is done so by immersion. (We would love to explain to you why we believe this is the proper picture.)
How does Vision Baptist Church receive members?
- by baptism – anyone baptized by Vision Baptist Church is considered a member of the church
- by letter – we would receive members who have been saved and scripturally baptized in another Baptist church of like faith and order. We would secure a letter from that church stating that the candidate was a member of that church in good standing
- by statement – in cases where a letter cannot be secured from the other church, we would accept a person upon their testimony of salvation and scriptural baptism