We hope you will join us!
While we often speak in terms of membership, we try to remember that there is a greater meaning or understanding to membership in the church. That greater meaning is “discipleship” or the understanding that the vows of membership point to what a disciple, or follower of Jesus, does as a result of deciding to be a part of the church. Membership then is a response to what God is already doing in a person’s life.
Baptism is the joining of Christ’s universal church
In a formal sense, someone who desires to join the church takes membership vows after they are baptized. In the United Methodist tradition and in many others, baptism is understood to be a reflection outwardly of what God is already doing inwardly in an individual. Many within our tradition were baptized as infants or children and so those individuals come before the gathered church body, typically on a Sunday, profess their faith in Christ and take the vows of membership in the local church. These vows include the following promises: to faithfully participate in the church’s ministries through 1) prayers 2) presence 3) gifts 4) service 5) witness to the world.
If you have not been baptized, the Pastor can schedule a time for you to be baptized and profess your faith in God before you take the aforementioned vows. In this case, a person professes their faith that Jesus Christ is their Savior, followed by Baptism, and finally those five promises that make up membership vows to the local church. For those watching this celebration unfold during worship, there is a seamless progression through the profession of faith, Baptism, and membership vows.
If a person has been baptized and is already a member of a Christian church (one that holds to the Trinity of God), that person may choose to simply ask that their membership be transferred from the first church to this church.
The United Methodist Church recognizes Baptism from all other Christian church traditions. While our worship space is currently designed for the sprinkling of water upon the head of the baptized, this is one of three acceptable modes of baptism (pouring and immersion are also accepted and may be accommodated with advanced and careful planning).
When a person chooses to join the church, the church also takes vows to help the person grow in their faith.
So discipleship and membership involve both personal decisions and actions, but also include a corporate or communal component or response where people live out their lives as a part of a faith community or body with Jesus Christ as the head.