From the Pastor’s Pen . . . . . .
For the past few months I have been thinking about church membership, and in this article today I want to identify some of the reasons that justify such action. While there are clearly more reasons for joining than I can identify, there are five that stand out above others and deserve consideration. Those five are: mutual accountability, prayer support, discipleship training, spiritual growth, and leadership opportunities. Since these are pretty much self-explanatory, no further description is necessary. The question then becomes, “What does a person have to do to become a member of a Methodist congregation?
In the United Methodist Church, membership is open to all persons who have been baptized in the name of the Trinity and who are willing to answer a simple question: “Will you be faithful to the United Methodist Church and support it with your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness?” Those answering in the affirmative are warmly received into the fellowship of the local church.
Often questions arise about the process for persons who are members of other churches, including other denominations. For persons who are members of other Methodist Churches very little is required. All they need to do is contact me, request a transfer, and give me the name and address where they are currently members. Persons who are members of other denominations do not have to get “re-baptized” as other faith groups often require. As Methodists we accept the baptism of those who come from other denominations. For those people, simply answering the question mentioned in the above paragraph is all that is needed.
Persons who have never been members of a church are invited to join on profession of faith and baptism. Publicly acknowledging action that has already taken place in their hearts is essentially what this method is about when those joining are able to answer for themselves. Additionally, Methodists baptize infants and those unable to speak for themselves. Such persons are later confirmed and received as full members of the local church.
At times the process may seem confusing, but it is really not. If any persons reading this article are interested in becoming a member of CHUM, I would welcome an opportunity to talk with them. Call me at 967-0470 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.