What are the three qualifications for being a church member?
1. There is a point of time in your life when you have made a personal commitment to be a follower of Jesus Christ..
- Acknowledging that there is one God in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit..
- Acknowledging that Jesus is the Son of God who became a man, lived a perfect life, willingly died on the cross to take the punishment for my sins (i.e. times I have not lived according to God’s direction) and bodily rose again from the dead..
- Admitting my sins before God and asking Him to accept the death of Jesus as payment for them.
- All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
- The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23)
- But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
- If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)
- Committing my life to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
- "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? (Luke 9:23-25).
2. You have publicly demonstrated your commitment to Christ by Resurrection Baptism.
3. A commitment to the church family as a local body of believers.
What is the membership process?
- Indicate your desire to become a member to either the pastor or another ministerial staff member (by appointment or at the conclusion of a worship service) and fill out a membership request form
- Approval by church membership
- Introduction to the Church Family.
Can I attend on a regular basis even if I am not a member?
Yes. All are welcome to attend, whether members or not and whether followers of Christ or not.
I have been previously baptized in another church. Do I need to be baptized again with Resurrection Baptism?
The Bible speaks of several types of baptism: (1) Jewish temple baptism in which males would be immersed when they went to worship, (2) the baptism of repentance which John the Baptist practiced and (3) resurrection baptism in the name of Jesus. In Acts chapter nineteen we find a dozen men who had been baptized by John the Baptist and who were then baptized by Paul with believer’s baptism. We follow this New Testament pattern of baptizing individuals with Resurrection Baptism even if they have already gone through another type of baptism (such as infant baptism) at an earlier stage of life.
What do I need to bring with me when I am baptized?
You will need a complete set of dark clothes (shorts and a T-shirt or whatever you are comfortable in) to wear under the baptismal robe (provided by the church). There are changing rooms located behind the restrooms in the auditorium. You and the pastor will both stand in the baptistery waters. After explaining the meaning of baptism to those present, he will say, “I baptize you my sister/brother in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – buried with Christ by baptism unto death, raised to walk in newness of life – and Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water. When he says “unto death” you will go down on one knee and the pastor will briefly lower your head under the water (you will have a hand over your nose at the time), when he says “out of the water” you will walk out of the baptistery. The water in the baptistery is heated and there are towels available. You may want to bring a hair dryer. If you wish, you may have a family member or friend assist you as you exit the baptistery.
As nobody is perfect, what does it mean to live publicly in a manner worthy of Christ?
Certainly it is true that nobody is perfect; the church is composed entirely of people who have admitted that they have faults. When we speak of walking in a manner worthy of Christ, we mean not living openly in a way which would bring reproach to Christ or His Church without seeking help to bring your life into line with the teachings of Christ. Paul, when writing to the church in Corinth, gives examples of some of these areas in which members of that church had formerly struggled, but which they had confessed to God. Most individuals struggle with at least one area on this list; the item on the list which Paul had dealt with was “covetousness.”
Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (I Cor 6:9-11)
Walking worthy of Christ means acknowledging that these areas are sin and contrary to God’s law and actively seeking to bring these areas into line with Jesus’ guidelines for living.
We are living together as a couple but are not married. Can we become church members?
Church membership is a commitment to the others members of the church family. Prior to making a commitment to the church family as a whole, two other commitments should be made by those who are living together as a couple. The first commitment is a personal commitment to Christ which is declared publicly through the believer’s baptism ceremony. The second commitment is a commitment to each other as a family which is declared publicly through the marriage ceremony. The third commitment is to the church family through church membership. We believe that an individual should not seek to make a commitment to the church family as a whole prior to making a commitment to the individual with whom he/she is living.
Does the church “pledge the budget” as do some other churches?
While we expect all members to contribute financially to help support the ministries of the church, we don’t receive pledges. We believe that God is the owner of all that we have and that we should return a tithe of what God provides to Him through the church. We believe, however, that giving should go beyond only the financial. Jesus told one group that they did well to give a tithe (ten percent) of even the smallest items they had back to the Lord, but then said they needed to also give justice, mercy and faith.
How is the church governed?
The church operates under a congregational form of church governance, meaning that the church body as a whole votes on (1) the calling of ministerial staff, (2) a constitution and bylaws, (3) the church statement of faith, (4) the annual budget and (5) purchasing and selling of property. The church as a whole also retains the privilege of deciding any other matters, though most other decisions are delegated to staff or committees. The pastor serves as the leader of the ministries of the church and oversees all other paid staff either directly or indirectly. The pastor also moderates church business meetings in which the church family as a whole makes decisions.
Is the church affiliated with any other groups?
While First Baptist Church is an autonomous church, we voluntarily cooperate with others churches for the sake of supporting common ministries. We are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, and the Bluebonnet Baptist Association.
Does the church have a doctrinal statement?
As a church, we believe that the Bible is the final authority on all matters regarding our faith. While we don’t have a creed, we have adopted the “Baptist Faith and Message” as a general statement of our understanding of what the Bible teaches in various areas..