Should We Require New Church Members

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by ktn4eg, Jun 25, 2013.

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  1. ktn4eg

    ktn4eg
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    .... to attend a "new members class" before receiving them as members of the local church?

    I've heard of some churches doing so but I would like to read what my BB friends think about it.
     
  2. righteousdude2

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    I Think....

    ....and it really doesn't matter too much what I think, but, you asked so here goes: If your church is large enough, with that, I mean many different programs and ministries with staff to boot, a class to introduce the new person or family may benefit greatly from a more thorough introduction to the church and all it has to offer.

    Other than that, I think is is a waste of their time, and church resources. It is "the thing to do" right now, so a lot of churches are doing it. If you think it is necessary, go for it! If not, I doubt if anyone, new to the church, will gain a better seat in heaven or a fuller crown!

    Great question, and looking forward to the many responses this should illicit! :thumbs:
     
  3. saturneptune

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    Ultimately it is up to the local church. However, in Acts 2:41-47, members were received "daily." Indoctrination, training, teaching, etc, comes after membership as shown in this and following verses.

    Requirements before being accepted as a member other than salvation and baptism is unbiblical. Terms like communicants class, approval of the deacons, learning the bylaws, memorizing the Constitution are a Catholic invention and have nothing to do with Scripture.

    41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

    42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

    How could it be any clearer, membership first, training afterwards. Of course, on the individual is the responsibility to know the church he or she is joining inside out. Any thing short of that is pure laziness. That means doctrine, requirements to be a member in good standing, existing cliques, etc.

    Each to his own, but I would have nothing to do with a church that had pre membership requirements beyond what the Bible teaches.
     
    #3 saturneptune, Jun 26, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2013
  4. Oldtimer

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    "Should We Require New Church Members"

    Before: No
    After: Maybe

    What "strings" are attached to them becoming members of the body of Christ? What did the thief on the cross have to do in order to join our Saviour in paradise? Why should mankind require more than professions of faith to become members of a local assembly?

    After becoming a member of a local assembly, depending on the size, an optional new members class may be beneficial. In our church, home visits and instruction is one of the responsibilities of new member's assigned deacon. Includes giving new members a binder with applicable info about our assembly.
     
  5. Tom Bryant

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    Yes, a church can require that a person go through a class before they become members. This is not about them joining the body of Christ. That's done when an individual is saved. This is about keeping a church focused on the priorities that God has given them. It is also about making sure people want to be a member of that particular local church.

    If the person is joining because they are a new Christian, they need some focused instruction on what the church is about. They may be coming from a no church history or from a false church and another denominational history. They need to know what they are joining.

    If they are joining from another, in our case, Baptist church, they need to know that not every Baptist church is the same. We get this all the time with people who come down to Florida from the northern mission fields. :smilewinkgrin: They are joining us. We are not joining them.
     
  6. JohnDeereFan

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    We do in our church. It's an eight week class that covers basic Christian doctrine, ecclesiology, and the basics of Church history.
     
  7. annsni

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    Our church requires those seeking membership to attend a new members class. Attending the class doesn't mean you will become a member but you need to attend one to join. Our reasoning is to let the prospective member know more about the church they wish to join and for them to be able to ask questions about our practices. It is a 3 hour class on one evening so it is not burdensome. I have gone to many and they are a great informal way for the prospective member to get to know about the church and to meet the pastors.
     
  8. pk4life

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    Being that there is no guidance in the scripture on how to handle local church membership, you're free to do whatever you want with the subject.

    That's what is happening already.

    Some churches adhere strictly to rules when it comes to church membership (you can't do "x" unless you're a member).

    Some churches are very loose with their church membership, allowing for non-member Christians who want to serve God to teach and serve. Our current pastor stated to me that it's a legal thing he even has to keep a membership list.

    My opinion is rules and membership can discourage service, and growth. How far you want to discourage that, is completely up to the church.
     
  9. Mexdeaf

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    We are planting a new church and attending a six week membership class is a prerequisite for membership. We are using the book I Am A Church Member by Thom Rainier as a basis for the class. I highly recommend the book.
     
  10. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Tom, if I understand you...you are saying that it is an indoctrination into the way your church does stuff...am I correct in that assumption?

    Then, how many Baptist Churches do you believe are in your general area in Ospry FL? Lastly are there any Primitive and/or Old Regular Baptists in the area....I ask cause I gravitate toward them in theological issues ( & I will probably be in the Tampa area w/i the next 5 years.
     
  11. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Why...are these newbies not understanding of what church is about?
     
  12. Mexdeaf

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    Some are, and some aren't. But it never hurts to be reminded of what being a church member is all about. The folks who have been church members before like the tack we are taking and fully support it. It has been unifying and edifying.
     
  13. Salty

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    Your entire post was excellent

    Very Good

    good start - but should spread over several weeks

    I think using a book is an excellent ideal

    that is exactly the point.
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    .
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    I was saved as a teen - I then went thur a 13 week course BEFORE being baptized. I am extremely thankful for those classes!!! You see when I finally was baptized, I had a much better understanding-and greater appreciation for my baptism.

    The classes should also include going over the church doctrine statement and constitution as well as the responsibility of the members.
     
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Well OK, however I view church very differently than most folks do. I have come to believe that churches today are to big & focused on themselves rather than on "the people"

    For me its more of my going out to them vs their coming to me.... but of course thats me. Christ had his synagogues to deal with but his real mission was to being into the homes of the flocks, to be in the open fields, to be at there places of employment (ie in a boat with fisherman--in the storm!)

    I just think we have lost our ability to meet with them in the street so when I see "Programs" & Gathering Places {where you must wear certain clothing} & ah, how much do you tithe, & ah whats your theology---cause if it isnt mine then your a heretic, of what songs do you sing & what instruments do you use....ahhhh, yada yada yada.....I shake my head. This isnt the Christ I know!

    But you guys go ahead.....your professional pastors....thats how you make your money & feed your families (and it aint all bad).....but its not for me. See my church doesnt tithe---rather we give joyfully what we have (time, money, prayers, food, ourselves). My church doesnt have big budgets....we have a yearly of $10K to keep the lights on & the toilets flushing. My church has Elders from the community who travel from church to church providing prayers & scripture teaching (without pay)...they have secular jobs.

    So when I see this Church INC thing I cant say Im truly impressed. Ive been a RC for 32 years & I see many things that they do being emulated (with the exception of bingo & power ball---Baptists haven't gotten there yet...;)

    And I know Mex that you & Tom & a lot more modern Pastors do that stuff because you think your doing right....& thats to be commended, but its not what I believe Christs mission was all about, sorry to be blunt.

    God bless you all! I wish you the best at your initiatives. :jesus:
     
  15. Tom Bryant

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    I wouldn't call it indoctrination, but yes, we talk about why we do what we do, what we believe and what church membership means to us.

    There are no primitive or ORB churches that i know of near here. But we are 50 miles south of tampa and there may be a few there. you could google them.
     
  16. Mexdeaf

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    EW&F,

    At least we can agree to disagree kindly. Thank you.

    I think you would be more like a "Missional" in your church beliefs. I lean missional in that my goal is to get the ministry of the church outside the walls of the church as much as possible, yet without losing the focus on the assembly as the "pillar and ground of the truth".

    May God bless you in your work for Him also.
     
  17. JohnDeereFan

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    Sounds like you have a pretty poor understanding of ecclesiology.
     
  18. Yeshua1

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    My church does that, as we want the persons know what we belive and why, how we do things, in order to make sure they want to become active and inlolved!
     
  19. Tom Bryant

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    Since the question of the OP was about a class prior to membership, then I guess you ought to start a class so that no one who doesn't buy into your view of the church so that none of us who are not about Christ's mission slips in unaware. :tongue3:
     
  20. Zaac

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    Absolutely NOT. It is a good idea so that new members can become informed and start their membership out on the same page as the Church. But as God did not add bells and whistles on a list of things we should have to do to join His Church, neither should we make it mandatory that someone attend a class in order join our fellowship.
     
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