Some church membership processes are more involved than others. Most of them include some variation of the following elements.
- Baptism by immersion - This is the “confession of salvation” in the NT church. It is one of the first steps of obedience in following Christ as his disciple. It is a public demonstration of a spiritual reality.
- Membership interview or class - Some churches have several-week long classes for those interested in becoming members. During these classes, topics such as doctrine, church membership responsibilities, vision of the church, spiritual gifts, and testimony of salvation are discussed. Other churches discuss have a membership application and then an interview with an elder/pastor or other designated person.
- Elder affirmation - Because of the responsibility of elders to oversee the church, some churches require that the elders/pastors give an affirmation for new members. The elders/pastors are also the ones who conduct the interviews or classes.
- Congregational affirmation - Because of the authority in scripture to the church body as a whole, most churches require some form of affirmation from the congregation at some point.
Usually, precluding any of these things may be a conversation with a pastor/elder or deacon or other church member. Some churches do the membership class kind of as an “interest/get to know you” kind of thing. Others require the church membership class as a prerequisite to becoming a “full member”.
Next week - lingering thoughts about church membership.