At our church we have just inducted around 20 new members. Much has been said on the matter of church membership so I will not add to it here (see 9 Marks on the issue here and a message I did here).
Here is a note we sent to the church to remind them of the seriousness of church membership.
You are covenanting with these people and as such are creating new responsibilities that you will have toward them. This is also a good time to consider again, the seriousness of taking a church membership oath. These new members will be taking an oath, by promising to abide by the requirements of our membership covenant. This is a very serious matter, and we as elders take it very seriously. When one takes this oath, to covenant with Hope Baptist, we want all to know that it is the intention of the elders to hold accountable those who take it. Please read the section on oaths and vows in the Baptist Confession of 1689 for clarity on the importance of oaths. Following is our church covenant for your review
Hope Baptist Church Membership Covenant
Having been led, as we believe, by the Spirit of God, to repent, believe and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, and profess our allegiance to Him, having been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 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. Acts 2:38, Mark 9:23, John 11:26 Heb.11:6,John 1:12-13, I Pet. 2:6, Matt. 28:19-20 Romans 8:1
We will work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace and by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian love. 1 Cor 13:1-13, Eph. 4:1-6, John 13:34
We will seek the salvation of our kindred, acquaintances and strangers who have not repented for saving faith in Christ; to be in prayer for the spiritual awakening of the lost in our community, and to be a faithful witness of the gospel both here and to the remotest part of the earth. Matt. 28:19, Luke 24:44-48, Acts 1:3-8. Gen 12:3
We will 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; and to submit to its leaders as they are faithful to Christ. Hebrews 10:24-25, Hebrews 13:17, I Thess.4:12-15
We will 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 through all nations. I Cor. 9:1-27, Prov. 15:15, Job 34:19, Matt. 5:3, Mark 10:21, Luke 4:1
We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor neglect to pray for ourselves and others; nor avoid the meetings of the church. Hebrews 10:25, Hebrews 5:5, Acts 2:42-47
We will also maintain family and private devotions; to educate our children in the Christian faith and demonstrate the love of Christ in all of our household relationships. Eph. 6:1-4 Psalm 78 Deut. 6:1-9
We will watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our engagements, and exemplary in our deportment. Matt 19:15-20 Col. 2:9-10, Eph.5:1-2, Eph. 6:18
We will abstain from gluttony, drunkenness, illicit drugs, materials, entertainments or practicing things which jeopardize our own or another’s faith. Psalm 1:1-6, Eph. 5:3-12, Col: 3:1-17, II Cor. 12:20, Romans 1:30, Lev. 19:16, Eccl. 10:11, Galatians 5:21, Deuteronomy 21:20, 1 Corinthians 6:10, Proverbs 23:21, Psalm 101:1-2
We will cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and courtesy in speech; strive to avoid all scriptural prohibitions, such as tattling, backbiting and unrighteous anger; to refrain from speaking evil of one another; to be slow to take offense; to think the best of one another; and always ready for biblical reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay so far as it depends upon us. Psalm 19:14 Psalm 34:13-14, Eph. 4:29, I Peter 3:8-12, Matt 5:21-26, Titus 3:10, Prov 26:20-26
We will, if necessary, submit to biblically defined and regulated church discipline for the purpose of reconciliation with God and man and we accept that refusing to communicate or to flee is to usurp the power of the church and break this covenant. Matt. 18:15:20, Heb 12:11, 1 Cor 5:1-13, 1 John 2:19, 1 Timothy 1:20, 2 Cor 2:1-11, Luke 17:4
We will, when we move from this place, if possible, unite with a church which upholds the “Essential Doctrines” defined in the church constitution and where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant.
The new members affirm that they have reviewed the church constitution, affirm the covenant and understand the implications of taking an oath. Our constitution requires that new members sign a statement of their commitment to these principles. We say, “Understanding and agreeing with the Church Covenant and the Hope Baptist Church Constitution, I commit myself to this church body. I understand the church’s policies regarding church discipline outlined in scripture and I consent to be bound by them.”