In order to faithfully administer such oversight, Faith Bible Church employs the process of formal church membership as a useful tool to this end. While every true, born again Christian is a member of Christ’s universal church, the elders of any given local church are only directly accountable for those to whom there is mutual love and commitment. We believe that while formal church membership is not mandated to us in the sense that the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper are, it is none the less a wise and necessary practice with a Scriptural basis (cf. Matthew 18:17; Acts 2:41; 4:4; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 5:2; 1 John 2:19).
Throughout the NT, autonomous, local churches are depicted as recognizing who the true followers of Christ are in any given congregation (see above Scriptures), which allowed the leadership to recognize who’s souls they were responsible to watch over (cf. Heb. 13:17). The formal identification of an individual Christian with a local church body therefore allows for a mutual commitment of loving concern, care and service which would otherwise go unacknowledged in a local body of believers.
Through membership, the individual makes a public profession of faith in Christ, committing him or herself afresh to Him and to this local body of believers. He or she pledges to serve Him and give of one’s own time, talents and treasures as the Lord should bless and prosper him for the sake of the growth of this local body. He or she further commits to submitting to the Scriptural, loving and faithful care of the leadership and to mutually caring for one’s brothers and sisters in Christ in this local body.
*Requirements for Membership:
There are four requirements that must be met by any individual who desires to become a member in Faith Bible Church:
1. He or she must be a professing believer in Christ who is at least 16 years old and demonstrates a sincere Christian commitment to Christ in his or her life in accord with Scripture.
2. A past act of obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ in the waters of baptism upon trusting in Christ as Savior or else a willingness to submit to and proceed with water baptism (see under “Baptism” for more information on this Biblical practice).
3. Enroll in and complete the membership classes, fill out an application for membership, be in agreement with the doctrine and practice of Faith Bible Church and meet with the elders.
4. Approval by the leadership of Faith Bible Church, accepting the individual into this local membership.
*Process of Membership:
This formal process commences when an individual commits him or herself to enrolling in and attending three classes which cover the following topics: understanding church membership, history, doctrine and practice of Faith Bible Church and addressing any other questions an applicant may have. The aspiring member also fills out an application and submits it to the leadership for review. Upon completion of the classes, the individual meets privately with at least two elders to discuss the applicant’s application and desire for membership. The process culminates with a formal welcoming of the individual into the fellowship in a brief public service on an appointed Sunday morning.
*Duration of Membership:
One’s membership continues in good standing for as long as the individual continues to demonstrate a genuine love and commitment to Jesus Christ and this local body of believers. Membership can only be terminated by one or more of the following:
1. An individual is taken home to be with our Lord.
2. An individual formally requests to be removed from membership (which is granted unless there is unrepentant sin in the individual’s life).
3. An individual is removed from membership by the elders for lack of continued commitment to the local body, though not under church discipline.
4. An individual is formally disciplined by this local church and removed from membership (cf. Matthew 18:17).
*For more on church membership, please see Article VI in the By-Laws