Why Church Membership?
Anyone who trusts in Christ for their salvation is a Christian. They are already incorporated into the universal church, which is the worldwide family of God. However, the New Testament expects that wherever possible every Christian should also be part of a local church, living in genuine and close community with other believers.
At Magdalen Road, we have a system of church membership, as a way of publicly expressing our commitment to one another and to God. If you are trusting in Christ and seeking to live in obedience to him, and if you consider Magdalen Road to be ‘your church’, we would encourage you to become a member of the church.
You can download a leaflet which gives more details, or read on for a summary of its contents
What does becoming a member mean?
Church membership brings with it both responsibilities and privileges.
By becoming a member:
- You express your commitment to the other members of the church and to the church’s community life.
- You declare your agreement with the central truths of the gospel, as expressed in the church’s statement of faith.
- You agree to respect the authority of the Elders, as those whom God has placed in a position of spiritual leadership in the community.
As you enter into membership:
- The church community accepts a responsibility to care for, encourage and disciple you.
- The church community and the Elders accept their responsibility to nurture the spiritual gifts that God has given to you, and to receive blessing from God through you.
- The Elders of the church accept the responsibility of teaching you the truths of the gospel and ensuring that you are discipled within the church community.
In practice, every church member is expected wherever able to:
- Regularly attend when the community gathers to worship, principally on Sunday mornings.
- Regularly pray for the other members of the church, for the church’s community life, and for our witness to the world.
- Regularly give financial support as able in order to ensure the continued ministry of the church.
- Regularly serve the community life of the church in whatever ways appropriate to his or her gifts and calling.
- Regularly attend the business meetings of the church and contribute to decision making within the life of the community.
Why become a church member?
For your own good
Christians grow in their understanding of their faith, and in their confidence in Christ, as they encourage and nurture one another in committed, gospel-centred relationships. By making a formal commitment to the church community, you ensure that people will be looking out for you and seeking to bring you into those relationships. Membership of the church will help you to grow in the good times, and to stand fast when tempted in the bad times, because you are committed to other Christians and they are committed to you.
For the good of the Christian community
God places Christians into community so that they can serve one another. The New Testament uses the image of a body - the body of Christ - to describe the way in which each person within the church contributes something to the overall life of the community. In short, we need one another if we are all to grow up into the likeness of Christ. The church needs your gifts, experiences and character.
For the good of the non-Christian world
In our individualistic culture, one of the clearest signs of the truth of the gospel is the deep, committed community life of a church. Commitment to one another is central to our witness together.
Who can become a church member?
Church membership at Magdalen Road is open to Christian men and women from the age of 18 who:
- affirm and demonstrate a clear faith in the Lord Jesus and a determination to walk worthily and to serve faithfully;
- are in agreement with the church’s statement of faith (see our website);
- have been baptised. While the practice of the church is believers’ baptism by immersion,those who are satisfied before God about their Christian baptism, which may be of another form (including infant baptism), will not be required to be baptised as a believer in order to become a member.
Where appropriate, the elders will also request a letter recommending you for membership from your previous church.
What’s the next step?
If you are interested in exploring membership, please complete the application form. When you have submitted the completed form, an elder will invite you to an informal interview. If it is appropriate, a recommendation will be made to the leadership to approve your application. Once this has happened you will be received into membership at a Sunday morning service.
Although this process is formal, and involves serious commitments, we want this to be a positive experience for you. We trust that your application will lead to a very fruitful and enriching relationship.