Public Profession

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Berean, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. Berean

    Berean
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    I have just had an interesting discussion with some of my contempories, all fellow believers and members of the same church. I wouldn't classify us as neandertal but we are all senior citizens. The discussion centered around the manner we recieve new believers into our fellowship. All candidates are counseled (privately) and invited to a monthly luncheon where they are photographed and and the photo shown on the overhead projector at the evening service with the instruction that they are invited to attend but it is not necessary. From my observation about 50% do not attend the service where their photo is shown for a vote to recieve them.
    My personal opinion was that this was probably a trend in the larger churches and was not unduly alarmed, but I would run it up the BB flagpole.
    So here it is. What is your opinion?
     
  2. Joshua Rhodes

    Joshua Rhodes
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    I've never heard of that. In our church, when someone joins we present them to the Body at that time. We then place them into a Prospective Members class that meets during Sunday School, and teaches a 13-week curriculum on what we believe and why. After that time, they are considered members of our church.
     
  3. Psalm 100

    Psalm 100
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    Every Sunday, pastor makes an "altar call" for anyone wanting to join the church, need prayer, wants to give their life over, etc. We invariably have 3-4 people up there every Sunday morning and most Sunday nights.

    At that time, they are presented to the congregation they are attending (we have two services) and greeted by the church. Afterward, they meet with one of the associate pastors, and are placed in a Sunday School class.

    Even people like me, who met with one of the pastors during the week and asked to join then, have to go up to the front of the church to be accepted.
     
  4. gtbuzzarp

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    Berean, that sounds cool. Between the 2 denominations I grew up in, both had the families come forward and were introduced to the church. They are asked a few "we do" or "we will" questions, then the church votes on them by standing I think and the church is asked if they will commit to basically help spur them on in the faith and the congregation is asked to say "I will". I think it's neat, but from my experience, it seemed like it was mostly lipservice by the congregation. I also should note that this happens the Sunday after you request membership.

    The last church we went to (the first Baptist church I ever attended/joined), most people went off to another room attached to the sanctuary where you speak with counselors. The only way you were recognized was our SS Teacher would announce that "so and so" joined the church.

    At our current church there is an altar call and you speak with a pastor and they immediately introduce you to the congregation as having requested membership by tranfer of letter, baptism, or profession of faith.(and the Sr Pastor always asks if you know Jesus Christ) Then you go off to talk with counselors or pastors and have your photo taken and are asked more questions. (not sure what they do with the photo) You are invited to a new members class that is only one Sunday School class long. They do have a Foundations of the Faith class for anyone wanting to attend.

    In our last church they started up something a few years ago that sounds similar to what Joshua Rhodes was describing. When they started it, they asked all new members from the last 1.5 years to attend.

    In regard to the 50% attendance rate, I bet even fewer would come if they weren't invited and told about what was going on! :D
     
  5. rbell

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    We don't vote on members at the service they "join." However, "coming forward" is how they make their wishes known...We have made two exceptions I know of: One person wanted to join the church but was critically ill (he had accepted Christ; a family member stood in his stead that Sunday); another joined "in absentia" because He was in the Middle East (military). He was a strong Christian and his family joined our church.

    They are voted upon in the following month's business meeting.

    This allows us a personal visit with each one, for further counsel and clarification of their decision.
     
  6. standingfirminChrist

    standingfirminChrist
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    To base membership on a photo sounds like a prejudice vote. If I don't like the way you look, you can't fellowship with me? If you are ugly, you can't worship here?

    Jesus bids all come and drink of the water of life freely.

    Extend the warm hand of fellowship. Get to know the character, not the face.

    Then, if they wish to join, receive them with love.
     
  7. Magnetic Poles

    Magnetic Poles
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    StandingFirm, guess a handsome dog like yourself would have no worries. Now me, on the other hand...hmmmm.
     
  8. rbell

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    what if your hands are cold?

    :D
     
  9. standingfirminChrist

    standingfirminChrist
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    Magnetic, lol

    No, you would have no worries... if the church was a true christian church and you was seeking fellowship.
     
  10. gtbuzzarp

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    Berean, is that the only basis for the vote? I didn't read that into what you wrote when I first read it, but on 2nd pass it sounded that way. Do you read their testimony or anything?

    If people are voted in simply based on a photograph, then I think I agree with standingfirm unless perhaps (just thinking out loud) the purpose is to introduce the people to the congregation without them having to be there.

    I think we need more specifics.
     
  11. PJ

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    Monthly luncheon, photograph ... never seen that done.
    Public profession, counseling, under the watchcare ... that's how we do it.
     
  12. GLC

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    This is one of those areas where scripture does not give specific guidance and therefore Churches would seem to be free to develop a system that works for them as long as it honors God. I do think it is good for the Church to have a system whereby some time is spent with prospective members to 1) Get a clear testimony of the prospective member's faith. 2) Inform the prospective member of the major doctrinal beliefs of the church and 3) Inform the prospective member of the expectations for church members. If this was done in all churches, our rolls would be less occupied by "inactive" members. I continue to be amazed that we offer less guidance for those wishing to join the Church than a person would receive when joining a civic club.
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    I'm with GLC on this one. I've read some good ideas in this thread. I am most encouraged that many of your churches provide some counseling and face-to-face conversation before the church votes.

    If I recall correctly, Saul of Tarsus tried to join the church at Jerusalem and they rejected his application until Barnabas came and vouched for him. There's a lesson there somewhere for our churches.

    Tom B.
     
  14. Craigbythesea

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  15. Ron Arndt

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    Hmmm,sound like George Orville's Big Brother 1984 scenario? Big Brother really is watching, if our mug is shown on a huge overhead monitor.All this is wrong and embarrassing to many folks who are very reserved and private in their lives around others.

    This so called "public profession" thing before the church is sooooo wrong. Those who become Christians are not suppose to show THE CHURCH that they are now saved, but the unsaved world in general OUTSIDE the church building. In other words in your workplace and in your own home, where a Christian witness really matters.
     

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