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Membership Handout LHC.doc - Living Hope Church

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					                       Membership at Living Hope Church, Chicago

What Is The Church?

Scripture describes the Church is a gathering of people who belong to God because they believe in his
Son, Jesus Christ, as their Savior and Lord. The Bible places the Church centrally in God’s plan of
redemption—He plants her with all His heart and soul like a vineyard whose fruit will bring Him joy—
and so the Church is a central focus in God’s heart—He faithfully loves her as His own bride. The
Church is the Body of Christ, of whom He is head and in whom He fully dwells; this gathering of people
from all times and all nations, saints in heaven and on earth is called the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. As
God is the Good Shepherd, he calls her his little flock, and as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins
of the world, Christ laid down his life for his sheep.

Who is the Head of the Church?

Jesus Christ is Head of the church. He rules the hearts of his people by his Word and Spirit (Col 1:18; 2
Tim 3:16-17; I Pet 1:1-2). And he also rules through the means of human instruments, the elders of the
church. The Bible teaches that believers are to place themselves under the direction and care of such men
(Acts 14:23; 20:28; I Pet 5:1-5). We are also to submit ourselves to one another as members of the same
body, and each of us to serve one another as our diverse gifts fit us to do.

Why is Church Membership Important?

The New Testament presents a picture of definable groups of people who, once committed to the Lord,
identified themselves with and committed themselves to a particular local body.
In order to implement the principles of accountability and commitment to the local body of Christ, as
practiced in the early churches, Living Hope recognizes the need for formal membership.

In the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), you join a local congregation by public profession of faith
in Christ, by reaffirmation of faith or by letter transferring membership from another church. The elders
(pastors) of our congregation will interview you concerning your faith and, upon approval, will publicly
introduce you to the whole church. This joyful event usually takes place in a worship service.

What Are The Responsibilities Of Church Membership?

    (Read Acts 2:42-47)
   Loving the members of the church:
    A “one-another” concern for the other members, showing interest in and encouragement for their
    spiritual and physical needs.

   Participation in the fellowship:
    Faithful attendance to the worship services (Heb 10:25).

   Partnership in the ministry:
    The church is not a place to be entertained, but a place to be equipped (Eph 4:12) “for works of
    service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” and a place to serve (Rom 12:4-8).

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    Telling the gospel message to your relatives and friends and inviting them to respond to Jesus Christ
    in faith. Jesus told his disciples, “You will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

   Contributing tithes/offerings to the work of the church and to its missions outreach.
    Such giving should be done regularly, cheerfully, and with a spirit of gratitude to God. “God loves a
    cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). Realizing that we have been bought with a price of Christ’s blood,
    everything we are and have belongs to Him, and His kingdom should become the true treasure we
    pursue.

    We recognize the tithe (10% of one’s gross earnings) as the basic, minimal Biblical standard of
    giving, for the support of the local church (Gen 14:20; 28:22; Lev 27:30; Mal 3:8-10, Mt 23:23).
    For those who do not have any income, we are happy to help in whatever way we can to serve you in
    your times of need, pray, and offer counsel as you might seek out God-honoring work, which will help
    you to experience the grace of giving through Living Hope and other gospel ministries.

   Acknowledging the elders’ authority and supervision in their watch over the members.
    While seeking to guard each member’s rights, the elders also seek to defend the purity of Christ’s
    church (Mt 18:15-20; Heb 13:17).


What Are The Privileges Of Church Membership?

   When you join the church, you become a communicant member-because you have the privilege of
    participating in Communion. And you are entitled to all the rights of membership and involvement in
    the life of the church.

   The children of church members become “non-communicant members” upon their own baptism. The
    sacrament of baptism publicly acknowledges that your children, too, are part of the family of the Lord
    and enjoy the outward privileges of church membership. They become communicant members when
    they publicly profess faith in Christ on their own.

   Opportunities to serve in all areas of Living Hope’s ministry, thereby developing your spiritual gifts.

   Special oversight by the elders and lay leaders of Living Hope. It is not only natural that they would
    give more attention to members, but it is also their special responsibility.

   A voice in the government of this congregation, particularly on issues related to the growth and future
    of our church. At official congregational meetings you may enter fully into the discussions, plans and
    decisions of this church.

   Active involvement in the ministries of the denomination. Members’ ideas, prayers, giving and labor
    begin in the local congregation and then fan out across the U.S. and around the world.




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How Do I Become a Member?

Step 1: Read the Membership Handout and turn in the Application
        Once the application is received an interview with the elders will be set up.
        If applicable, submit a transfer of membership letter from the previous church.

Step 2: Interview with the Pastors.
                  Brief conversion testimony.
                  Q & A about the handout; ensuring comprehension.
                  Discussion of one’s sense of giftedness and possible area of service within the church.
                  Verbal assent to the following five questions:

               #1 concerns your conviction of sin:
               Do you acknowledge yourself to be a sinner in the sight of God, justly deserving his
               displeasure, and without hope save in his sovereign mercy?

               #2 concerns your faith in Christ as Savior:
               Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and Savior of sinners, and do
               you receive and rest upon him alone for salvation as he is offered in the gospel?

               #3 concerns your commitment to live for Christ:
               Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit,
               that you will endeavor to live as becomes a follower of Christ?

               #4 concerns your pledge to support Living Hope Church:
               Do you promise to support Living Hope Church in its worship and work to the best of your
               ability?

               #5 concerns your regard for our church’s government:
               Do you submit yourself to the government and discipline of Living Hope Church and
               promise to strive for its purity and peace?

Step 3: Presentation to the church.
        Public profession of faith via the five questions, Baptism if necessary.


How Long Does Church Membership Last?

There is no expiration date for church membership. Membership continues from year to year as long as
you fulfill your obligations to the membership vows. If you move to another area and desire to join
another church, our elder will take appropriate action to make this possible. On the other hand, if you
move and wish to retain membership, this can be arranged provided you continue to show an interest in
our congregation.

Membership in a church is an important matter. It carries with it many privileges and many
responsibilities. Yet most importantly, it is something that our Lord Jesus Christ desires of each of his
followers. So we invite you to take steps today to connect with us more visibly as members of the same
body.


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