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What does it mean to be a member of a church?

Is church membership biblical?

What is a church member supposed to do? 

These are important questions, and a good place to begin understanding why and how we practice church membership is to listen to our 2-part sermon series from September 2023:

Part 1 -- The Church for You and for Me

Part 2 -- One Grace-Based Body

Being a Member of Hope
(in 5 steps)

1. Get to know the church -- Attend our worship services, spend time with the people of Hope, and attend one of our "Discovering Hope" information sessions. Learn about our priorities, our values, our theological distinctives, and our expectations of members. 


2. Request to become a member 

3. Meet with an elder to talk about membership -- We love hearing about how God has worked in the lives of his people, and we want to affirm and encourage fellow Christians as they pursue membership in the local church.  

4. Be admitted to membership by the elders 

5. Affirm the six membership vows to be welcomed into the membership of the church -- To be a member at Hope one needs to have a credible profession of faith and commit to the local congregation by taking the vows listed below.

Six Membership Questions

  1. Do you hold to the Christian Faith in the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as expressed in the Apostles’ Creed? 

  2. Have you been baptised, and have you received from Jesus Christ the cleansing from sin and new life in the Holy Spirit which baptism symbolises? 

  3. Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins, and do you personally repent of your sins and trust in him alone for your forgiveness? 

  4. Do you recognise the authority of the Elders, and assent to the governance and oversight of the International Presbyterian Church, and are you willing to accept their discipline, if that should ever be necessary? 

  5. Do you promise to support this church by prayer, giving money and time, and caring practically for individuals? 

  6. Do you commit yourself to building and maintaining healthy relationships within this church, treating your fellow believers as your brothers and sisters in Christ?

Biblical Rationale for Church Membership

Church membership in a local church is important in the life of a believer. Jesus said that he would build his Church and we see in Acts that the Apostles were baptising believers and bringing them into the Church. Indeed the Lord was adding to their number (Acts 2:41–42, 47). He is the Head of the Church, yet he has commissioned his people to go and make disciples. This process of making disciples is done through the work of the local church. Elders are called to shepherd those under their care (1 Pet 5:1–4, Acts 20:28) and the people of God are called to submit to them (Heb 13:17). Scripture also requires the people of God to bear one another’s burdens and to do good especially to those who are of the household of faith (Gal 6:2, 10).


In these ways, and in others, Scripture presumes a household of faith with some way for us to know who is in and who is out, and furthermore, who is in which congregation. Elders must know whom they are to shepherd; Christians must know to which Elders they are to submit; all of us must know which brothers and sisters we are particularly called to serve and love. God has designed Church membership for our good and growth in the gospel.

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