Membership is a key part of our church life. When a person is baptised as a believer, or someone recognises God is asking them to become part of this fellowship, they normally become a church member.
A Church member must be a Christian (also called a disciple or follower of Jesus), and covenant with the other believers of the church family. This means agreeing with and supporting the Vision, mission and ministry of CCBC, worshipping regularly together with the other believers, and prayerfully discerning God’s will for our church’s life. In 1 Corinthians 12:27 it says, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
Members generally gather together every other month for a Church Vision Meeting (CVM). We believe in the importance of members meeting together, seeking the will and mind of Christ and making Kingdom decisions as a congregation. The day to day running of CCBC is overseen by ourLeadership Team, and yet final authority does not rest with the ministers, deacons or any other local, national or international body, but with the members meeting together under God’s guidance. Church vision meetings will make significant appointments including ministers, and agree financial policy and mission.
What does it mean to be a Church Member?
Church membership is not like joining a club or organisation. It is a biblical and practical outworking of commitment to Jesus. If you have entered into a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you belong to His family. To be a disciple of Jesus Christ also means we belong to his worldwide family – the church.
So as long as I am baptised – isn’t that all that matters?
The most important thing for all of us is that we are confident of our personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. We have an ‘open membership’ at CCBC meaning that we have members who have been baptised as believers, and members who’ve joined us from other Christian traditions. In other words, believer’s baptism by full immersion is not an absolute requirement for church membership. However, if you have not been baptised as a believer we would encourage you to think seriously about it, as many describe it as a time when God has touched their lives in a very special way.
Being a Christian is not just an individual thing; we need other believers, and they need us in committed relationships which are to be found in the local church. Similarly, we encourage everybody, especially our members, to step out in faith, engage in mission and ministry, and use their particularly skills, gifts and talents for God’s glory, whilst being recognisably part of CCBC.
Church membership is not found in the Bible.
No, but the principles behind it most certainly are. What we see in the Bible are Christians intentionally gathering together, pledging themselves to one another in living out their Christian lives. We, like they, express our love for God and one another in a covenant agreement – church membership. Membership expresses intentional commitment to Jesus and His Body, our fellow sisters and brothers within the Christian family.
I serve the church and give to the church – what difference would it make becoming a member?
All the difference in the world! It is an important and public declaration of our intention to be committed to following Jesus, along with others, in a particular place. Like the signing of the register at a wedding service, it confirms what we have already decided to do, in a concrete and unmistakable way. And, because we are being obedient, God blesses us!
Is it not possible to be a responsible part of a local Baptist church without formally becoming a church member?
Yes and no! Of course anyone is welcome at our services, and we hope many will find themselves at home in our church family. Everyone is welcomed, valued and important. Nevertheless our membership of the worldwide church is only truly expressed by becoming committed to a local church.
What are the responsibilities and privileges of membership?
A member of CCBC is committed to Jesus and His ways. Jesus summed so much up when He said, “to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbour as ourselves“. In other words by living a life consistent with the Gospel and teaching of Jesus, seeking his Kingdom, and sharing regularly in corporate worship, prayer, communion, Christian service, and giving financially (in proportion to personal resources) to resource and support the local church.
Who should I talk to about membership and becoming a member?
Please speak to one of the ministers, Philip or Edward, or our Church Secretary, Alan Slough. They’d be delighted to talk further with you.