How to Become a Member
Membership at Harvest Point is not like joining a country club or a gym. According to 1 Corinthians 12, as Christians we are to be part of a local church body, committed to love and serve one another. When we refer to membership we are talking about being a member of a local church body. If you sense the Lord is calling you to unite with us, we rejoice and want you to know our process for membership.
- Complete all 4 new member sessions
- Prepare a written testimony of your conversion experience
- Participate in an informal interview with an elder Questions will include:
- What is the gospel?
- Have you responded to the gospel?
- Have you been biblically baptized?
- If coming from another church, do you believe the Lord is leading you to HPC?
- Do you have any objections to the HPC constitution?
- Do you have any questions about HPC?
Answering Possible Questions
What is a church member?
First off, membership in a church is nothing like membership in a civic club (ex. country club). Membership is God’s idea that a local church be made up of members (people who trust in Jesus) much like the human body (1 Cor 12). With Christ as the head, members make up a complete body where no member is more important than another and all members are essential for the church body to function as God designed. “More concretely, church membership is a formal relationship between a local church and a Christian characterized by the church’s affirmation and oversight of a Christian’s discipleship and the Christian’s submission to living out his or her discipleship in the care of the church” (Jonathan Leeman, Church Discipline: How the Church Protects the Name of Jesus, 42). Thus, “membership in the local church is a church’s external, public affirmation that the member is continuing to give evidence of genuine Christian conversion” (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander, The Deliberate Church: Building Your Ministry on the Gospel, 47).
Why should a Christian join a church?
Every Christian should join a church because Scripture requires it. Granted, there is no direct command in Scripture that says, “Every Christian must join a local church,” but Jesus established the church to be a public, earthly institution that would mark out, affirm, and oversee those who profess to believe in him (Matt 16:18-19, 18:15-20). Jesus established the church to declare publicly those who belong to Him in order to give the world a display of the good news about Himself (John 17:21, 23; see also Eph 3:10). Jesus wants the world to know who belongs to Him and who doesn’t. And how is the world to know who belongs to Him and who doesn’t? They are to see which people publicly identify themselves with His people in the visible, public institution He established for this very purpose. They’re to look at the members of His church. And if some people claim to be part of the universal church even though they belong to no local church, they reject Jesus’ plan for them and His church. Jesus intends for His people to be marked out as a visible, public group, which means joining together in local churches (https://www.9marks.org/answer/why-should-every-christian-join-church/). Also, membership is the church’s way of affirming the validity of someone’s profession of faith (Matt 16:19, 18:18). The church looks at a person’s life, hears their explanation of the gospel and how they came to believe it, and says, “You look like a Christian to us, so join us. Watch over our lives, and we’ll watch over yours.” So, while membership in a church doesn’t guarantee that someone is a Christian, it should assure believers of the genuineness of their faith. When we join a local church we let the pastors and other members of that church know that we intend to attend regularly, give faithfully, pray for the church, and serve the church as we have opportunity. We allow fellow believers to have greater expectations of us in these areas, and we hold them responsible in these ways as well. So we join a church in order to build it up (Eph 4:11-16). You can do far more to build up the church as a committed member than as a detached, autonomous attender. And it will do good to your own soul as well. (https://www.9marks.org/answer/what-are-some-other-reasons-join-church/)
Why should someone sign a church covenant?
Signing your names on a document is serious business. If you want money from the bank to pay for your car and promise to pay it back, the bank will want your signature and proof that you can and will pay the money back. Other times the signature is much smaller like a credit card receipt for a 20 oz. soft drink that costs $1.63. Why add a church covenant to church membership? Church membership is a serious matter. It is not merely giving a nod to the things of the local church with folded arms. It is an agreement on what is expected of both parties much like a marriage. The church is committed to you and your Christian growth while you are committed to the church and desire accountability. As a church made up of members, we agree to uphold what we believe and how we will live. The covenant puts everything into writing and our signature affirms that we want to be part of this local church. Agreement can come in varying degrees. “We can tacitly [silently] assent to something by merely not opposing it. We can do so non-verbally with a nod of the head, or a shake of the hand. We can go further and give verbal approval to something by saying ‘aye,’ or ‘I agree.’ Yet the signature goes a step further by codifying [expressing] that agreement in a way that can be independently verified by others” (Brad Wheeler, “On the Thorny Matter of Signatures and Assent,” 37-40, in 9Marks Journal: Confessions, Covenants, & Constitutions). “But doesn’t that reduce membership to ‘a piece of paper’? Not any more than marriage is reduced to a piece of paper when a couple signs their marriage certificate. The signature isn’t meaningless, for that signature is how we express our agreement before God and before others that we actually intend on fulfilling the commitments and promises we’re making. A signature forces people to stop and ask, ‘What am I consenting to?’ ‘Do I actually agree with it?’ ‘Will I live by it?’ The signature encourages buy-in. It helps to ensure the individual understands, affirms, and thus owns it. It’s another way to make membership meaningful” (Brad Wheeler, “On the Thorny Matter of Signatures and Assent,” 37-40, in 9Marks Journal: Confessions, Covenants, & Constitutions) Another great reason to sign a covenant is for accountability. Not only should Christians want to be accountable in pursuing Jesus until the end of their life, the leaders of the local church need to be held accountable for leading the church faithfully and caring for its members. Accountability goes both ways, from the leaders to the members (the leaders desire to present all members mature in Christ—Col 1:28) and from the members to the leaders (because the members are ultimately responsible for the purity of the church). We are ambassadors for Christ, period. The question is whether we are a good ambassador or not. If we want to run the race faithfully and will answer to God Almighty when we die, let’s hold one another accountable that we may answer God with joy and not shame.