Application for Church Membership?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Internet Theologian, Dec 2, 2015.

?

Applying for Church Membership Is...

  1. A good idea.

  2. A bad idea.

  3. It could be a little bit of both (a good and a bad idea).

  4. I'm not sure.

  5. Other...

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  1. Internet Theologian

    Internet Theologian
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    In my recent reading I came across several mentions of applying for church membership. This was during the 1800's here in the U.S.

    Is a membership application a good idea?

    Is it a bad idea?

    Here is a sample membership application found online:

    http://www.gbcob.org/assets/uploads/GBC Membership application.pdf

    What do you think?
     
  2. HAMel

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    What I am about to say is going to bring scorn from most everyone but that's okay. I'm a big boy.

    My wife and I belong to a church. The pastor is really good and preaches like no one I've ever heard before as he teaching as he goes along.

    However..., I am up to here..., literally, with all the nonsense that comes with membership. Specifically those who have their feet in concrete and refuse to budge on even the smallest matters. The small cliques. The attitudes. The innuendos. You know..., all that what comes from the Amen Pew.

    So, any application for membership should include questions that ask...,
    1. Do you Go along to Get along?
    2. Do you resist change?
    3. Have you any relatives attending this church?
    4. Are your feet in concrete?

    ...you know, those kinds of question.

    Okay..., I'm ready. Lay it on me.
     
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  3. Internet Theologian

    Internet Theologian
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    I'm not one who is going to lay it on you, that's the job of others on here.

    People can frustrate you, that's for sure! Some go out of their way to do it too as I see some go from thread to thread just to give a dislike or dumb on someones posts.
     
  4. HAMel

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    Thank you for sparing me. :)

    For sure some could "frustrate" a bowling ball and then sit back and grin about it. I just don't understand the mindset but it goes on in almost all churches.
     
  5. agedman

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    If the questions are not about the statement of faith, or about the policies of the church, they don't belong on the application for membership.

    In fact, I am not certain that being "enrolled" as a member of an assembly is actually biblical. That makes it more like a country club than a worship grouping.

    What should be the approach of the assembly towards having members?

    Why not make the gathering a gathering rather than a list of who is "in."

    Would it destroy the function of the gathering?

    However, neither am I opposed to some indication as to the background information as long as the word "optional" is included rather than "required."

    Would, for example, it be appropriate for a church to ask on an application, "Are you convicted of a felony, if so explain in detail?"
     
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  6. HAMel

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    @agedman..., I was being fascias at best.

    A really good example of most churches today can be seen right here on the "Baptist Board".
    Just consider the attitudes..., the divisions..., the opinions..., need I say more?

    The makeup of this board displays the average Baptist Church across the country and then we wonder why nothing gets done and why folks on the outside don't bother to come in.

    We might as well hang a bright neon sign outside the front door that reads...,

    Drama That Will Turn The Heads of TV Soaps Producers.

    "AS THE CHURCH TURNS"
    "Like Sand Through An Hour Glass So Are The Days Of Our Church"

    ...can't think of no mo' TV Soaps but you see where I'm heading here.
     
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  7. blessedwife318

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    I think Church membership is a good idea for a couple of reasons.
    1. As the church goer it shows that I'm willing to put myself under the church leadership. Heb 13:17
    "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you."

    From a more practical standpoint, we live in a day and age where there are multiple churches in a town, which is different then how it would have been in the past where there was only one church in town. I think that fact alone lends itself to the necessity of church membership. It's letting the pastor know who is under them, and who is just coming in and out of their flock.
    Now I realize that church discipline is difficult to do when there are 20 churches in town and one can just move to a different church when they are in the process of Matt 17 discipline but I think have church membership gives churches something they can do to show that this is person has sinned and not repented and is under church discipline by removing them from membership, but of course that only works if the church has membership and they are members

    And then from a more this is the day and age we live in, I would hope that membership would provide some legal cover for the church, by saying that only members in good standing can be in any kind of leadership position (teaching sunday school, leading singing, etc. ) And that the church will only allow members of good standing to be married in their church. Given how hostile the homosexual community is toward Christians I just thinking having some kind of legal cover is a good idea and church membership provides that.

    Just my 2 cents
     
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  8. Internet Theologian

    Internet Theologian
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    In your opinion.

    Perhaps on the former. In my opinion, on the latter you're taking some liberty and censuring some churches in the process, unintentionally perhaps. Having membership does not turn a true Gospel preaching church into a country club though, but I get your point.

    Perhaps vetting and using a membership application?

    It's always a gathering and there are always those who are in and those who are not. Membership places one under the authority of the local church and elders. Of course one who just visits and causes disruption can also be asked to leave.

    I don't think so.

    That's your opinion and it is respectful.

    Some churches do background checks. They should in many cases.
     
    #8 Internet Theologian, Dec 3, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015
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  9. preachinjesus

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    We utilize a covenantal church membership and it works well for us.

    There is an "application" but it's more of an info gathering piece. One part of this is that we ask all new members to write out their salvation experience. Then it is looked over by our membership coordinator. We don't have a highly burdensome process but it does seek to get to know people.
     
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  10. Internet Theologian

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    I am wondering if there ever was a case where membership was refused? Not specifics, and not in your church necessarily, but just wondering if anyone knows of a time it has been rejected and for what reasoning.
     
  11. Salty

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    In a church, where I was church clerk, a person wanted to join. When we sent for his letter, that church said they would not sent it until this individual paid the past due amount to the Christian school
     
  12. Kevin

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    Just wonder why anyone would feel offended or threatened if asked to sign a Church membership document.

    With today's hostility towards the Church, and groups such as the homosexuals looking for any chance to harm the Church, why not protect the local Church.

    If the Church has a good Constitution and By-Laws, just something stating that membership is based upon agreement with these documents, and a promise to support them as written. This would help when it comes to Church Discipline also.
     
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  13. Internet Theologian

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    A former pastor had invited his dentist to church. The dentist came and when he left he said it was nice to see a woman singing in the choir who had her teeth fixed. He also noted that she never paid him for them either.
     
  14. agedman

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    I am not so much opposed to membership, as I am to the intrusive application process mentioned in the OP.

    In my view, the statement of faith and constitution of the church needs to be read and agreed upon before anyone joins the fellowship. That way, there is none who can rightly divide or cause dissension because they may not agree with the direction the church has stated is foundations for being a local assembly.

    Back in the day, independent Baptist pastors that started a church would hold title to the property of the church because there were some wolves that would come and join and then as the opportunity came, rise against the pastor, kick him out, and take over the church.

    I saw in SB churches some very modernist groups get extremely upset when some investigated their founding documents and showed how very far from them the church had strayed on doctrine.

    Does a church need a "background check" on new members, given that predators abound? When does such a check become intrusive when a debt to society has been paid?

    I can see the need for someone to be able to write an account of them being saved, and I also can agree that some family information may be helpful.

    But again, these should be "optional" and not a requirement.

    The only must, should be agreement with the Statement of Faith, and Constitution.
     
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  15. Rob_BW

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    I see background checks as serving a different purpose. In our church, we use them to vet anyone involved with our minors, like Sunday school or VBS. So it might prevent a person from being involved with those things, but it would not prevent membership.
     
  16. Melinda

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    this was not a baptist church but..yes they to refuse memberships...my friends sister at the time was dating...and they were living together unmarried...refused to make them a member of church..
     
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  17. JonC

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    I think that it may be a good idea to "apply", although I am not sure that "apply for membership" is the correct term. We have an interview type process followed by several study groups that explain the doctrines of our church (doctrines that are as foundation to salvation as well as the congregations stance on several theological and secondary issues). After this is completed the person can become a member of our church. I think that too often people do not realize that church membership is a commitment, not a club.
     
  18. tyndale1946

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    I agree when you join a church you should know what you are putting a commitment to... Example when anyone joins our church... The call is come forth and let your wishes be known and the church will wait on you... Usually said by the pastor of the church and it is the duty of the church to accept or reject the one coming forth. In all my years in the church the one coming forth was know by the members and the pastor before they came forward. They knew our basic belief before asking for a home in the church and to be baptized. This also applied to children but the doctrines were not emphasized as much as it was on the adults... a lot of them had families in other churches and knew all about us and joined... Some of them came from other churches in different states and joined in good faith and practice by letter. What I have observed in my 50 years in the church that some join and their growth in the church is slow over time and others as soon as they join catch fire. I agree it is a commitment to our Lord first then to each other... Brother Glen
     
  19. JamesL

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    This happened with my brother and his girlfriend 20 years ago. She's his wife now, but they were shacked up and were not only denied membership but were humiliated when they were brought before the church in a supposed vote, then shamed before the whole congregation.
     
  20. Internet Theologian

    Internet Theologian
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    I believe the church made the proper decision.
     
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