Jump to content
  • Welcome to Online Baptist

    Free to join.

desertjim

Church Membership

Recommended Posts

Hi All,

I wanted to toss this out and see what comes back.

A regular attender, but non-member, cannot vote in church business meetings; cannot handle the church finances, but is allowed to handle God's word as a Sunday School teacher.

I've been praying about whether or not to speak with the pastor about it. I certainly don't want to "be" the pastor or involve myself any deeper than I should. I hold no particular position in the church other than a being faithful, praying, giving member.

Suffice it to say I have said enough to ask your thoughts on the matter.

BTW, we are a new church and the pastor has just drafted the constitution which will be voted on Sunday night. Nothing in the constitution addresses this situation, other than that the pastor can decide who preaches and teaches within the body.

Although I've been in church most of my life, have held various positions within the local bodies, this just seems unthinkable to me, but I certainly don't claim to know everything about the local church.

In His Service,

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I concur. Ensuring that the doctrine taught in the church is in agreement with the constitution of the church is far more important than simple financial issues. If the person in question concurs with the constitution, why aren't they a member? If they were to begin teaching false doctrine, as non-members, the church would have no grounds for discipline. Seems that this would open the door to a host of possible problems. Your constitution should really reflect the roles and duties available to members in order to prevent confusion in this area. If your constitution is just being adopted, this would be an excellent time to integrate this.

Edited by salyan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife & I have been attending the Baptist church for over 2 years. I am not a member for reasons I have made clear, & I am not willing to become "associate member" to get round those reasons. Those reasons - expressed over a year ago, have not been discussed with me. The reasons concern the constitution.

I preach from time to time (I'm preparing for Sept 16), & play the music & choose most of the hymns.

We came to the church from another FIEC church where I was in a leadership position.

All churches have visiting preachers who are not members, but they must be of good standing & in substantial agreement with the doctrinal position of the church.

I do think a quiet word to the Pastor is in order to get the position clarified. The man might be in doctrinal agreement with the KJV translators & therefore ineligible for membership, but well qualified to preach.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife & I have been attending the Baptist church for over 2 years. I am not a member for reasons I have made clear, & I am not willing to become "associate member" to get round those reasons. Those reasons - expressed over a year ago, have not been discussed with me. The reasons concern the constitution.



What would be reasons one would attend a church for years and not become a member? I'm not asking for your specific reasons but in general. I'm curious to know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In our church, we had regulars that came for years but wouldn't join. They were from a Mennonite background, and didn't want to get 're'-baptized (Mennonites baptize by sprinkling, not immersion). Had a recent regular that liked our church but left for the same reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi All,

I wanted to toss this out and see what comes back.

A regular attender, but non-member, cannot vote in church business meetings; cannot handle the church finances, but is allowed to handle God's word as a Sunday School teacher.

I've been praying about whether or not to speak with the pastor about it. I certainly don't want to "be" the pastor or involve myself any deeper than I should. I hold no particular position in the church other than a being faithful, praying, giving member.

Suffice it to say I have said enough to ask your thoughts on the matter.

BTW, we are a new church and the pastor has just drafted the constitution which will be voted on Sunday night. Nothing in the constitution addresses this situation, other than that the pastor can decide who preaches and teaches within the body.

Although I've been in church most of my life, have held various positions within the local bodies, this just seems unthinkable to me, but I certainly don't claim to know everything about the local church.

In His Service,

Jim


By all means see your pastor about this. Also, do you have a solution for the replacement SS teacher if that is the outcome? Maybe volunteer to teach until the replacement is found or permanently replace the non-member yourself. You may want to have an offer ready...pray about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In our church, we had regulars that came for years but wouldn't join. They were from a Mennonite background, and didn't want to get 're'-baptized (Mennonites baptize by sprinkling, not immersion). Had a recent regular that liked our church but left for the same reason.


Same here; we have some Nazarenes whose children are scripturally baptized and members of our church but the husband is still relying on his good works to get to heaven.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our church rules say that no one can hold office til they have been a member for at least a year. I am not sure if that includes Sunday School teachers. We have, in the past had students from the local universities helping with Sunday School. If I remember correctly, we added "Associate Membership" for those students who were members of similar churches to ours, which enabled them to teach.

As to preachers, we mostly only have visiting preachers from churches that we know, and who have been accredited by their own church.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WE have an elderly member who has a mass said for her husband every year. He was a Catholic and his will included a clause that a mass was said for him each year. She is not, and as far as I know, never has been a Catholic. She has not attended our church for several months as after a fall she was in hospital and since them been resident in a home in a another town.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are inconsistencies in implementing the constitution.
While the church is free to adopt its own doctrinal basis, & the one printed may have a historical significance, I would rather see the FIEC doctrinal basis. The insistence on immersion baptism for membership [in the doctrinal basis] is divisive, & potentially excludes new members by transfer.

Associate membership is allowed for those baptised in infancy or not by immersion. Also some of our very faithful non-members are from infant baptist churches. That gets round the "immersion" clause in an unsatisfactory way. We could easily have a majority of associates in the membership.

I am asking for a revision to an agreed basis than can be implemented.

Doctrinal basis:


  1. The Divine institution of the Christian Ministry; and the obligation and perpetuity of the ordinances of Believers’ Baptism (by immersion) and the Lord’s Supper.


While the church is free to adopt its own doctrinal basis, & the one printed may have a historical significance, I would rather see the FIEC doctrinal basis. The insistence on immersion baptism for membership is divisive, & potentially excludes new members by transfer.

FIEC:
Baptism and the Lord's Supper have been given to the churches by Christ as visible signs of the gospel. Baptism is a symbol of union with Christ and e
nt
ry i
nt
o his Church but does n
ot
impart spiritual life. The Lord's Supper is a commemoration of Christ's sacrifice offered once for all and involves no change in the bread and wine. All its blessings are received by faith.


I was baptised by immersion on confession of faith in 1957. Bible study has convinced me that baptism of believers by sprinkling is a valid mode. (As practised by Congregational churches e.g. Hayes TC & allowed by many churches on health grounds.)

I have no objection to immersion baptism as the normal practice of the church.

Immersion baptism normally involves a lot of preparation & practical difficulties.

1.2 Those only shall be admitted into membership who have been baptised by immersion upon a sincere profession of repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. Election of Members

    1. Following the applicant’s agreement to the Doctrinal Basis and acceptance of the Rules for Church Government, the Church Officers shall appoint two members to enquire as to his or her spiritual condition. Proceeding at the discretion of the Pastor and Officers, a report of this interview shall be given at the next Church Meeting, followed by a vote on the admission to membership of the candidate, election requiring the support of not less than two-thirds of the voting members present.














No provision for membership by transfer. No provision for believers baptism by sprinkling, by conviction or infirmity. No allowance for membership of those who Scripturally believe their infant baptism was valid. This is relevant as the church is in fellowship with churches & members of other churches who believe infant baptism is valid. 18 Alteration to Rules 18.1 Any alteration of or addition to these rules shall only be made with the support of not less than two-thirds of the voting members present at a Quarterly Church Meeting, subject to notice having been given at the previous Quarterly Church Meeting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Covenanter

How do you think it will go with the church leaders? Not sure if you submitted this request or not. I can't see it going well as it seems to go against what they fundamentally believe (i.e. immersion).

I'm divorced with 2 children. Part of me does not find any significance on being a member which being unmarried. Am I wrong for feeling that way? How does the IFB deal with single or divorced individuals that opt to attend the church?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At my church, we have alot of people that are divorced. God may hate divorce, but He still loves the divorced person. IMO, you have the right to come to church and worship just like anyone else.


I do and they are all so wonderful and loving to me. I just don't see any reason to actually be a member of the church being divorced (no husband). Not like I can hold office (I have NO desire to) or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well first of all, I'm not sure what "office" you would want to hold. But at my church we have women sunday school teachers who are divorced. Personally, I don't see an issue with it. Maybe someone else will have a different opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm divorced (and remarried before getting right with God), thus I could not be a pastor or deacon. However I was a trustee in my former church back in MO. I also was eligible to teach adult Sunday School.

Edited by cubfan1969

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Covenanter

How do you think it will go with the church leaders? Not sure if you submitted this request or not. I can't see it going well as it seems to go against what they fundamentally believe (i.e. immersion).

I'm divorced with 2 children. Part of me does not find any significance on being a member which being unmarried. Am I wrong for feeling that way? How does the IFB deal with single or divorced individuals that opt to attend the church?

I did submit it - months ago. None of the members who drew up the constitution are alive. In fact tomorrow (Sept 8) is a special service to commemorate 10 years service of our Pastor, Robin (a Pakistani). The church is in an immigrant area & the ageing English members were making no impact on the area - less than 10 attending services. Only 2 of those still attend - the church secretary & his wife.

Robin was called by the group of evangelical churches (FIEC) to lead & replant the church. He is doing a good job with a number of families coming, & enthusiastic youngsters. Only one baptism, though & he immediately went to Canada. During that time he has married a converted Punjabi lady from a Sikh family. They have two little children. Baptism has never been emphasised - only the FIEC basis is on display. This Sunday a couple are being admitted into associate membership - faithful believers who should be in full membership, but he has not been baptised as a believer. They are from southern India.

That baptism was by immersion in a big paddling pool. It was a day's work checking & rejecting the built-in baptistry, preparing the paddling pool & connect up a supply of warm water. Then he had to sit in the pool & was laid down to immerse. Emptying the pool took two days.

While I accept immersion as Scriptural, I also accept sprinkling. Please don't discuss that on this thread.

Also, whilst I reject infant baptism, I accept that millions of faithful Christians have practised it, including the KJV translators.

If I were to accept associate membership (it's been offered) it would imply acceptance of the doctrinal basis, so I can't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going back to the original post, I have been in similar positions over the years. I do not understand why someone would allow a non-member to take teaching roles within the church. It just seems wrong. As has been mentioned, there is a great opportunity for someone to teach a false doctrine - not a good idea.
On the other hand, church membership is not actually found in the Bible. I'd be interested in researching the history of "church membership" on the whole to find out when this practice actually began.
We once belonged to a church that held the position that either kind of baptism was acceptable. Our pastor felt it was not a "hill to die on". Being a firm believer of Believer's Baptism (full immersion upon public confession), I thought it was odd. However, I came to find that many folks felt that sprinkling was also a form of baptism and they were faithful, godly, folks. I saw the wisdom in this Pastor's decision. I am still a firm believer in Believer's Baptism, but I'm not going to deny another Brother or Sister in the Lord in becoming a member of the church because they believe otherwise. The important things are the doctrine of the Lord Himself (birth, death, Resurrection), the rest, well, we can agree to disagree on some of those areas.
That's just my two cents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
church membership is not actually found in the Bible.


It's in my King James Bible:

Christ is the head of the church: "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,"

He died for it: "Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, ...even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"

Added to what?: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."

Are we just to enter into any church and pay our tithe?

First all souls were commanded to worship God at the tabernacle, then the temple and now the New Testament Church.

You can learn more by reading the Baptist Handbook at www.baptistchallenge.org


The important things are the doctrine of the Lord Himself (birth, death, Resurrection), the rest, well, we can agree to disagree on some of those areas.


That's liberal thinking, "In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty..."; complete blasphemy!

This doesn't square with Acts 20:27 or this from Ephesians 6:

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."

There are many more verses which speak to this if memory serves. There's a good article in the March 2006 Baptist Challenge, "A Limited Message or a Limited Fellowship". There's always good articles in the Baptist Challenge, thank you Preacher Moser and Praise God for his ministry!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, and I'm single. Having a husband has nothing to do with whether or not one should be a member. The husband may be the head of the home, but Christ is the head of the church. And we are joined together with Him directly - not via a husband. "there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Gal. 3:28

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am considering membership in a local I.F.B. Church, and they will not accept any divorced individual to hold any position or office, even before they were saved. The last church I attended would not allow the Lords supper to be administered to anyone that was not a member, (closed communion).
The one I am considering membership now, I will find out tonight they"re position on non-member communion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am considering membership in a local I.F.B. Church, and they will not accept any divorced individual to hold any position or office, even before they were saved. The last church I attended would not allow the Lords supper to be administered to anyone that was not a member, (closed communion).
The one I am considering membership now, I will find out tonight they"re position on non-member communion.

I regularly share in leading communion - even this morning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Who's Online   1 Member, 0 Anonymous, 26 Guests (See full list)

Article Categories

About Us

Since 2001, Online Baptist has been an Independent Baptist website, and we exclusively use the King James Version of the Bible. We pride ourselves on a community that uplifts the Lord.

Contact Us

You can contact us using the following link. Contact Us or for questions regarding this website please contact @pastormatt or email James Foley at jfoley@sisqtel.net

Android App

Online Baptist has a custom App for all android users. You can download it from the Google Play store or click the following icon.

×
×
  • Create New...