Church membership is a funny thing. Some view it as a stamp of spiritual approval. Some as an irrelevant and made up religious ritual. The truth is church membership is a way to identify with your church family. The church is the body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the house of God and the family of God. Families are to care for one another. In fact, God also uses His family to reach the world around us.
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
How do you become a member of Southbridge Fellowship? Here are the four steps
1. Make your desire known
First, let us know that you want to be a member. We have many different people who attend our church on a weekend: members, guests from out-of-town, non-believers giving the church one shot, skeptical spouses, curious doubters, people from other churches gathering ideas, and genuine believers who have yet to join a church in our area. We don’t assume where you are at when you come, we let you tell us.
Everyone decides at different points when they are ready to commit to a church family. Some know on their first visit and others may take months. When you let us know you are interested in membership either by checking the box on your Connection Card on Sunday or by signing up for Next Steps online, you have taken the first step of becoming a member.
2. Attend Next Steps
Our Next Steps class answers questions like:
- Is Southbridge Fellowship the right church for you?
- What should a member at Southbridge expect?
- How do our core values play out in practical, daily living?
- What does it look like to be a member at Southbridge?
- How do I get connected?
You also have an opportunity to ask anything and everything you ever wanted to know about how our church works, from what you see on Sunday morning to how we operate Monday through Friday.
At the end of this class, everyone receives a membership covenant. No one is forced to sign the covenant. We want you to prayerfully consider whether this is the church you want to commit to and be committed to you.
3. Sign the covenant
If you believe God is leading you to commit to the vision of connecting people to Jesus for life change – you sign the membership covenant. However, interest in membership, attending the class and even signing the covenant alone do not make you a member of Southbridge. There is one more step.
4. Share your story
I want to be clear why we have this step, what it means, and what it does not mean. We believe firmly in believers membership. We are not just a group of people who have decided to be committed to one another. We are a diverse group of people with various backgrounds, hurts, strengths, gifts and baggage.
But the one thing we all need in common is having personally placed our faith in Jesus Christ work on the cross for our reconciliation to God. More on what it means to place your faith in Jesus can be found here.
We have people share their story with a leader in our church (small group leader, staff member, pastor, or elder) to affirm their faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking church membership gets you to heaven or earns favor before God. We ask to hear your story to know when you placed your faith in Jesus as your Savior.
This does not mean you have to share every detail of your life or past. You may have hurts you are not ready to share. We understand. If and when you are ever ready to talk about those things, we would love to have a conversation with you. In the meantime, we simply want to know if you have made the most important decision anyone can ever make and that is trusting Jesus as your Savior.
Watch the brief video below to hear an overview I gave to our church family about the membership process.