Below you will find basic questions and answers regarding membership at Northeast Houston Baptist Church. Feel free to contact us with any additional questions you have about church membership at email@example.com.
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Church Membership FAQ
A local church is a community of baptized Christ-followers who covenant together to proclaim the Gospel, study the Scriptures, observe the two New Testament ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper, worship together corporately, minister to one another, serve the body with their respective spiritual gifts, pray, and encourage one another in the faith. Church membership then is the relationship between an individual Christ-follower and a particular community of Christ-followers indicating that individual believer belongs to that community of Christians.
We feel very strongly that it is. In fact, we would make the argument that except for extraordinary circumstances like a single believer or believing family living in a geographical area where there is no church, every believer is expected to be a member of a local church.
It is impossible for a believer to obey the strong and deep New Testament instructions for how to relate to other believers without local church membership. The New Testament instructs believers to relate to other believers in very deep and personal ways. It would be impossible to relate to all believers everywhere in all of the New Testament ways. Membership in a local church identifies for believers to whom in particular it is they have all of the New Testament obligations and responsibilities.
It is impossible for a pastor to know which particular sheep he is responsible for shepherding and for sheep to know which particular pastor(s) is responsible for shepherding them without local church membership. A pastor cannot shepherd every believer everywhere in the deep and profound way called for by the New Testament. A believer can't be biblically shepherded by all pastors everywhere. Membership identifies for a pastor the sheep under his care and identifies for a believer the shepherd God has provided for them.
The word "church" refers to a literal, physical gathering of people who assemble for a common purpose. In a day of rampant Christian individualism rooted in a misunderstanding of the "universal church", believers must return to living life in the local church era in which we live. Individualism is manifested in various forms like "church-hopping", a very loose affiliation with a local church, and claims of carrying membership in the universal church rather than a local church. Until Christ returns, the universal church will not gather in one place, at one time, for worship. When that does happen, the local church will become obsolete and we will all live in the universal church era. Until then, we live in the local church era. The local church is God's gracious and necessary provision for believers to faithfully walk with the Lord during their time on earth. Christians must see the local church as a necessary and very valuable asset in their relationship with God.
The following is our five-step process:
Salvation: Completion of a Statement of Faith form available at the Welcome Center in the lobby or contact us and we will email or mail one to you. On it, we ask that you write out your salvation story and describe to us your baptism experience if any. This is our way of ensuring all of our members are believers.
Baptism: If you have not yet already experienced baptism by immersion by a church of like faith and practice, following your salvation, we will be honored to baptize you. If you have, then you have completed this step already. This step is our way of ensuring all of our members are baptized believers.
Attendance of the Discovery Class: This is our new member's class. Here you will learn about our history, vision, internal structure, ministries, and membership expectations. This step is our way of ensuring prospective members know what they are committing to before they become members. Register for the next Discovery Class HERE.
Regular attendance at our worship services for a minimum of three months: This is our way of ensuring people don't enter into our membership rashly, or based on an emotional decision. We want our members to have carefully considered whether Northeast is the local church to which the Lord is calling them to belong. We define "regular attendance" as at least twice a month.
Vote by our Board of Trustees: Our trustees are representatives from the congregation who work very closely with the Senior Pastor in the matters of the church. Upon completion of the membership process, the Senior Pastor brings the names of the candidates to the trustees for final approval.
We have four membership expectations:
Corporate worship: We expect our members to regularly attend Sunday morning worship. This is when we gather as a church body to worship the Lord and to hear our primary Bible teaching and vision casting from our pastor.
Small group: We expect our members to be actively engaged with a small group. Some people call it Sunday School, others Bible study, and still others LifeGroups. Regardless, this is where we live in community. This is where we pray for each other, care for each other, build relationships, and find our place of belonging at Northeast.
Serve: We expect our members to have at least one place of service where they serve our body. Serving builds the church and gives the member a deep sense of attachment to Northeast. We serve whom we love.
Mission: We expect our members to "live on mission". Our evangelism strategy is our members going about life with spiritual eyes: sharing the Gospel with unbelievers as opportunities arise, encouraging discouraged believers they come across, defending the faith, participating in short term mission trips as the Holy Spirit leads, and giving to missions offerings.
We value meaningful membership and have a process designed to prepare you to assimilate into our congregation. Call us at 281.812.8688, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org