Hillendale Baptist Church, 13135 Hillendale Dr. Woodbridge, Va 22193
Becoming a member of a church is a very important decision. A church is a group of people who have trusted the Lord Jesus as personal Savior and have banded together to carry out his work in the world. When one becomes a church member he is making a covenant with the other members of the church to do his best with God's help to live a Christ-like life and to cooperate with them to do the church's work.
JOINING A BAPTIST CHURCH
At the end of a congregational worship service, the pastor asks persons who want to make decisions to come forward. The pastor usually stands at the front of the church to receive those who make decisions. Sometimes a deacon or another church staff member stands at the front to receive persons.
When a candidate for membership comes forward, the pastor has him share his decision with him. He usually talks with him about it. This gives the candidate an opportunity to clarify the decision and gives the pastor a chance to answer any questions he may have.
After clarifying the decision, an application for church membership card is filled out. The card usually asks for name, address, phone, date of birth, and the kind of decision the candidate for membership is making. At the close of the invitation the pastor usually asks him to stand at the front of the church. He announces his name and the type of decision to the congregation. In some churches the pastor asks the church members present to vote on your acceptance into the membership. In other churches, church members do not vote until a later service. This gives the pastor or a designated church committee time to counsel further with the candidate about his decision.
THREE WAYS A BAPTIST CHURCH ACCEPTS MEMBERS
There are three ways that most Baptist churches accept persons for membership.
First, a person may unite by profession of faith and become a candidate for baptism. This means that he has trusted Jesus as Savior, is now declaring himself openly as a believer and is asking for membership in the church. Baptism is immersion of a person by putting him under water. Baptism does not help a person be saved. However, Jesus told his followers to be baptized. It symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. It is also a pictorial testimony of what has already taken place in the Christian life--death to his old life, its burial, and his resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. Church members vote to receive the candidate for membership as a candidate for baptism. After baptism, a person becomes a member of the church.
If you have received Christ into your life, or want to receive him, go forward and tell the pastor you are coming by profession of faith and wish to become a candidate for baptism.
Second, a person may unite "by letter." This means that he is already a member of another Baptist church of like faith and order. When one requests membership this way, the church clerk writes the church where he is a member and requests a letter of recommendation. The candidate is not actually a member of the church until the letter of recommendation is received. However, many churches accept a person under the "watch care" of the church until the letter is received. Watch care means that the candidate is considered a part of the church fellowship and has the privileges and responsibilities given to a church member.
Third, a person may unite by statement. This means that he was once a Baptist but now is not a part of another Baptist church fellowship. There are many reasons why this occurs. Perhaps the church where a person joined is now disbanded. In some cases a person may have joined a church of another denomination and asked the Baptist church to drop his name from the roll. Most Baptist churches will accept a person's statement about former membership in another Baptist church. When this is the situation, one should present themselves to the pastor and tell him that he is coming by statement. After church members vote to accept the candidate by statement, he is in full fellowship with the church.
If none of these ways describes your particular situation, and you wish to discuss your own needs with someone, ask the pastor to counsel with you privately. He is ready to talk with you and to help you understand how you may unite with the church.
After becoming a member of a church, be faithful in attendance and service. A church member should seek to honor Jesus by the way he acts and speaks every day. In order to do this, study your Bible to find God's way of living, pray daily, worship in the services
Contact us. 703-590-3010 or email.