How can I join Covenant Presbyterian Church?
We’re glad you’re thinking about joining, or at least open to learning more about becoming a member of our congregation! Here’s why: even though our hope and joy is firmly rooted in Jesus Christ as he is revealed to us in God’s Word, that doesn’t mean that we don’t get excited to see people joining us in worshipping and serving him. In fact, we get excited about new members precisely because of Jesus Christ, namely because we want to see men and women and boys and girls grow side-by-side with us in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior. As such, we’re happy to answer your question, even if at this point you’re just a little curious.
Who may join? Perhaps the best way to begin is by showing you the vows you would be asked to make. These vows come in the form of five questions all professing members of our congregation are asked:
1. Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving His displeasure, and without hope save [except] in His sovereign mercy?
2. Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and Savior of sinners, and do you receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation as He is offered in the Gospel?
3. Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as becomes the followers of Christ?
4. Do you promise to support the Church in its worship and work to the best of your ability?
5. Do you submit yourselves to the government and discipline of the Church, and promise to study its purity and peace?
Take some time to think through these vows. These are five questions every Christian should be able to answer with a clear, unwavering “Yes.” As such, these are the vows you would be asked to make if you wanted to join Covenant Presbyterian Church—nothing more and nothing less.
Consequently—just to be clear—you do not have to agree with every single Presbyterian doctrine in order to be a member of our congregation. We are indeed a Presbyterian congregation, which, to give one notable example, means that we teach that infant baptism is biblical and we require church officers to agree with that doctrine. That said, we do not require members to have the same commitment. Will we periodically encourage members who do not share that commitment to study the doctrine? Yes. Will we expect them to receive our periodic preaching or teaching on the subject with respect? Absolutely. But we do not believe that people who object to infant baptism are not Christians, and therefore far it be from us to forbid any such people from joining us as members. As long as you 1) understand who you are as a sinner, 2) believe in Jesus as your only Savior, 3) strive to live for his honor in reliance upon the Holy Spirit, and 4) can promise in good conscience to support and participate in the life of this particular congregation 5) under the leadership of our elders and with an eye toward building up your brothers and sisters in Christ, then we welcome you to seek membership.
What if I can’t make those vows in good conscience? If one or more of those vows stands in your way of joining our congregation, don’t panic or run away. In fact, please don’t panic or run away. You are welcome to keep attending worship services and getting involved in the life of our church as long as you desire. We are willing to give you the time and space you may need. And we are also willing to talk with you about any questions or struggles you might have. In the meantime, we’re glad you’re here, and we don’t want you to leave just because you currently can’t make one or more of the membership vows in good conscience.
I’m good with those vows—what do I do now? First of all, express your interest to one of our elders: Rick Coan, Leo Cantu, or Pastor Nicholas Davelaar. Pastor Davelaar will then arrange a time to begin meeting with you to go over a series of seven lessons concerning what it means to confess Christ. Pastor Davelaar will work with you through that study as quickly or slowly as you are comfortable, combining or stretching out lessons as needed. The purpose of these studies is to give you a good start as a member of our congregation. We think you’ll find these lessons helpful even if only to encourage you in your faith.
Once you have finished that, we will schedule a time for all three elders together to meet with you. The purpose of this meeting will be for us to hear your testimony and your understanding of the gospel and of what it means to be a member of Christ’s church. Afterwards we will discuss your request for membership privately, and, barring any unforeseen concerns, soon thereafter notify you with joy that we plan to receive you publicly into the membership of our congregation. At that point we will also talk with you about any remaining details, such as scheduling baptism (if you have not already been baptized) or transferring membership (if necessary) from any previous congregations you have belonged to.
Is that all? Yes and no. Yes, that’s all that we require. We don’t want to make it impossible for anybody but a Bible scholar or “superstar Christian” to join our congregation. That said, no, that’s not all, inasmuch as a simple brochure such as this cannot adequately impress upon you or anyone else the seriousness of church membership and the responsibilities and joys that come with it. Thus, please don’t make light of church membership just because of this one little brochure. Don’t assume for a moment we’ve said all that can be said about it, its joys as well as its sorrows. The goal here has simply been to give you an overview of how we admit members, and we hope soon enough you’ll discover the seriousness and joys of church membership as a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church.