Why does Community Gospel have “members”?
Community Gospel Church supports and agrees to the Biblical use of the metaphor of a body to describe the church: ‘‘For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ’‘ (1 Cor. 12:12). This is a lovely illustration of how we’re each created to serve different functions, we need everyone to function in order to be a healthy body, and all of us as separate parts find purpose and unity under Jesus, ‘‘the head of the body, the church’‘ (Col. 1:18). “Members” are the church (Eph. 2:19-22).
What’s the difference between a member and somebody who just goes to Community Gospel every week?
At Community Gospel, we make a distinction between “members” and “non-members”. If you’re not a member, then you’re technically a guest that remains to a certain extent separated from our church family, and separated from the maturity, protection, accountability, and care that comes with being an active member of the church.
This may not make much difference for visitors and non-Christians, but Christians who consume rather than commit to a local church do a disservice to Jesus’ body (the church) and themselves. Members, on the other hand, participate as the church as a whole. They sacrifice their time, talents, and treasure; committing to the care and community of their fellow members; and submit to the authority God has established to lead our congregation. In short, the difference between a member and a non-member is that members live “on vision”.
What does it mean to be “on vision”?
To be on vision means we are together living out our identity found in Jesus Christ, embodying the Community Gospel vision statement and covenant by living a life of worship to God making Christ known near and far. Being on vision also means we are together covenantaly committed to fellowshipping with one another, working to help non-Christians know and grow in the Gospel (Matt. 28:18-20). These expressions are only possible with an identity established in Jesus.
Why should I become a member?
Community Gospel is a family, adopted by God (Gal. 4:6-7 Eph. 1:5). We care for each other, pray for each other, and serve together. If you’re already a Christian, if you’re already in some form of Community Gospel community, if you’re already giving of your finances and your time, then you’re already fulfilling some functions of a member. Without making an official commitment, however, we cannot provide the same level of pastoral care and community support, in part because we may not know who you are, and in part because the Bible requires that we take care of our family first (Eph. 2:19 and Gal. 6:10).
If you’re not a Christian, you need to first seek and discover what it means to confess and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord (we would love to talk with you about this). If you are a Christian who has spent a lot of time at Community Gospel, search your heart and identify your hesitation. There may be valid reasons to abstain from Community Gospel membership. But we’re rebels by our cursed nature; if you tremble at the very idea of becoming a member, ask yourself why–and don’t hesitate to speak with a pastor or elder of CGC.
What are the benefits of being a member?
Scripture calls us a body, a family, a household–being a Christian is not a solo effort. Jesus works through the church (Eph. 2:10), the church is Jesus’ body (1 Cor. 12:27), and apart from Jesus, you can do nothing (John 15).
This isn’t McDonalds, a country club, or a 24-Hour Fitness. Again, members are the church. ‘‘In love [God] predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ…So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God’‘ (Eph. 1:4-5 2:19).
You don’t join for the perks–although members do, by nature, enjoy greater access to community and certain volunteer opportunities are only available to members as well as voting privileges. The benefit is that we get to worship Jesus together, serve in His kingdom, and be children of God! We enjoy the guidance that his Word provides, and, when sin comes between us, we enjoy the reconciliation Jesus’ blood provides.
How do I become a member?
CGC asks all our people asking about church membership to first participate in the expectations online study found here. After completion of all the sessions, turn in the CGC covenant at any CGC service and we will contact you soon!
What is a “member covenant”? Can I read it before I become a member?
A covenant is a promise by which we obligate ourselves to one another in such a way that the obligation of one party is not dependent on the faithfulness of the other (Ezek. 20:44 36:22 Ps. 76:11 Hos. 2:19-20 3:1 2 Tim. 2:13). A covenant is what we would use to describe the vows between a husband and his wife, and between God and his people. We ask our members to sign a covenant so that we know that prospective members understand what it means to be a Christian, baptized and a part of the church. The member covenant is not a legal document or some sort of cultic rite. It is an affirmation, an agreement, and a source of accountability for both the church and its individual members.
Do members have to be baptized?
Since Jesus commands that all of his disciples be baptized, baptism is a requirement for all Community Gospel members (Matt. 28:19 Acts 2:38 10:48 1 Peter 3:21). If you’ve already been baptized since you became a Christian, you don’t need to get re-baptized. Community Gospel performs believer baptisms only, which means we don’t baptize infants.
If you have more questions about membership or baptism specifically, email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org