English: The Christian and Missionary Alliance...

English: The Christian and Missionary Alliance church in Bly, Oregon. In 1945 one adult and five children from the church were killed by a Japanese balloon bomb. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is intriguing, as we sat at the AGM (Annual General Meeting) of the Institutional church we attend, there was a vote on receiving new members.

It got me thinking, how exactly does one become a member of a local church?

I have travelled many miles within the Christianities and experienced many different membership practices, I am going to list a couple and would love your input on them and thoughts on if it fits the way Christ called his disciples (Please Note: The Rainbow Chapel is an open house, just by coming over you are considered family).

Soooo… (Please note these are my experiences from my time with these traditions, if you know of an update to the process or a different practice please comment).

There is the Roman Catholic Method that is a 2 year religion/discipleship course before being received as a member.

The Anglican method where your baptism as an infant welcomes you into membership, and your confirmation as a tween/teen/adult confirms it.

The United Church/Presbyterian Church practice the baptism/confirmation method with an extra-step of a membership certificate that can be moved between congregations within the Denomination/reformation tradition.

Church of Christ you become a member by attendance and participation.

Christian & Missionary Alliance, through attendance, course, and formal interview with the pastors and board to be accepted.

ELCIC by transfer of certificate; baptism/confirmation; attendance, and reception by board.

Unity by attendance.

Associated Gospel Churches through attendance that leads to application, meeting with the pastoral team, then two members who would or would not recommend you for membership, your name then goes on a ballot at the AGM for the official membership to vote on.

These are a few examples, but then it comes down to me is whether these are appropriate barriers/boundaries, are they based around the idea of converts (human) or disciples (Christ’s commission to us)? Do they acknowledge what Paul wrote of in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 (the body of Christ: our unity, diversity and interdependence) or does it relegate the church to another social club we need to join?

Thoughts, questions… seeking understanding as our little home parish moves forward.

The Rainbow Chapel took the stance of coming, joining our FB page, sharing life, living in community, and working towards a better world out of the Heart of Christ as the simple benchmarks, because we believe we are called to be a Family…and as such, institutional structures are not usually what a family makes.

What is everyone else’s thoughts around this? How does one join your church? Is it political? Structural? Institutional? Biblical? Traditional?

But the biggest question is: does it show God’s love and welcome?

  1. mybroom says:

    This is a really interesting topic because we are the church. You cant join yourself, but you can join with a local group of believers. My view is we should not put obstacles in the way of people having fellowship, after all we are all participating in the grace of God. Unless of course the grace of God is of little value to the particular group. thanks, Graeme

  2. Rebecca Hamilton says:

    Thanks for referencing my post on Public Catholic!

  3. Yes…. You Do | Shiloh Temple COGIC says:

    […] How to join a church? (tyragan.wordpress.com) […]

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