BECOMING A MEMBER
Membership at Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church can be a rich and rewarding experience. You may have worshiped with us; perhaps you have participated in a church activity or mission project. Maybe you are interested in becoming more involved and joining us as a member of our community of faith.
The Meaning of Membership
When Jesus invited people to be his disciples, he did not ask them to take a twelve-week membership class and then determine if they were fit to be members. Jesus simply said, “Come and follow me.” At Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church, we view membership as a tool to help you follow Jesus. When you join Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church it does not mean that you are perfect or that you understand everything about God; it means that you have a growing desire to identify yourself as a Christian. It means that you are seeking a community of faith in which your spirit can be nourished in God’s love and thus be encouraged to follow Christ into the world and share that love with all.
The Sacrament of Baptism signifies our incorporation into the body of Christ. It is a sign of inclusion in God’s grace and covenant. Baptism gives us our identity in Christ and informs our membership by calling us to a life of Christian discipleship. In the Presbyterian Church, we recognize and welcome baptism from any Christian denomination by any method. If you have previously been baptized, you do not need to be baptized again. We believe that baptism is a gift from God that signifies God’s faithfulness and not our faithfulness. We believe that faith is an up and down journey. Human beings constantly need to renew their commitment to God. Yet, baptism only needs to occur once since God’s love is eternal and needs no renewal. Baptism signifies the beginning of life in Christ, not its completion. Thus, we believe it makes no difference whether it is received as an infant or as an adult. In baptism, we are constantly called to respond to God’s gift of grace by committing ourselves to Christ in every moment of our lives.
How do I Become a Member?
Talk to the pastor and we can welcome you at our next Session meeting. Additionally, we do offer some new membership classes which can be great way to become more familiar with the ministries of Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church. But, attending these classes are not required.
Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church welcomes all who desire membership. You can become a member of our church in four ways:
1) Baptism and Profession of Faith
2) Affirmation of Faith for those previously Baptized, but who have never joined a church before.
3) Transfer of Membership from another Christian Church
4) Reaffirmation of Faith for those who have not been active in a church for a while.
The Vows You Make When You Join the Church
Do you believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life?
Do you confess your need of the forgiveness of sins and with a humble and contrite heart put your whole trust in the mercy of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?
Do you intend to be Christ’s faithful disciple, being in fellowship and peace with the people of God, and obeying Christ’s Word and showing his love?
Will you be a faithful member of this congregation, share in its worship and ministry through your prayers and gifts, your study and service and so fulfill your calling to be a disciple of Christ Jesus?
As with many things in life, you get out of membership at Smith Memorial Presbyterian Church what you put into it! As you search for a church home, we invite you to prayerfully consider making a commitment to God, yourself, and your church family. Every member is a minister and is encouraged to accept Christ’s call to be involved responsibly in the ministry of the Church. Such involvement includes activities such as:
+ Proclaiming the good news in word and deed,
+ Taking part in the common life and worship of a congregation,
+ Lifting one another up in prayer, mutual concern, and active support,
+ Studying Scripture and the issues of Christian faith and life,
+ Supporting the ministry of the church through the giving of money, time, and talents,
+ Demonstrating a new quality of life within and through the church,
+ Responding to God’s activity and love in the world through service to others,
+ Living responsibly in the personal, family, vocational, political, cultural, and social relationships of life,
+ Working in the world for peace, justice, freedom, and human fulfillment.
+ Participating in the governing responsibilities of the church,
+ Reviewing and evaluating regularly the integrity of one’s membership, and considering ways in which one’s participation in the worship and service of the church may be increased and made more meaningful.
Growing in Christ
We believe that the ultimate goal is for all people through Christ to grow together in an ever-deepening relationship of love with our Creator. We are to grow in Christian love and discipleship not only as individuals, but also as a church, with the community around us, and with the entire world. Most importantly, growth begins with God’s grace. There are many ways to grow and respond to God’s grace. However, there are some foundational habits of discipleship which can help to create an environment for growth and love. We encourage every church member to:
+ Read at least one verse of scripture every single day.
+ Participate in some sort of small group with Christ-centered relationships.
+ At least once a month, invite someone who you don’t know very well to share a meal with you.
+ Volunteer in an area where you have a God-given passion to make a difference.
+ Pray continuously.
+ Give generously.
+ Worship regularly.