Chapter 4 – Deliberate Church
Nine Marks Ministry – 9marks.org
1 Tim. 3:15-16
- How we do the ministry of the church is CRUCIAL.
How concerned are we about the security of our church? Should we just keep the doors open all the time and let everyone come and go as they please?
Obviously, we know that the physical security of our church is very important, but Dever brings up a very interesting point… why are we not that concerned about our spiritual security.
Let’s think about this:
We know that there are some crazy theological things going on in our world today. (Hopefully we know that..)
Do we want these crazy theological things going on in our church?
Why are we so afraid to think with BIBLICAL COMMON SENSE when it comes to accepting BELIEVERS into our church family.
In our desire to have someone be part of our church we are afraid to ask the tough questions.
Do they understand, love, follow after.
The true Gospel
Holiness (our life of worship unto the Lord)
Desire to serve within the brethren.
Have we ever considered what their motives may be?
Church membership in the Bible
It is not specifically pronounced in Scripture, but I think it is clear to see the concept throughout the NT.
- 1 Corinthians 5:12–13 –  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (ESV)
- 1 Timothy 5:9 – Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, (ESV)
- Church is described as a family, body (different parts).
- Early church in Acts. All things in common.
- Fits with the idea of spiritual authority. Jesus as the Head. Pastor/Elder in the church.
New Members Class
One of the most enjoyable things I do. (It allows me to)
- Clearly share the Gospel
- Share my heart for ministry and the church
- Provide doctrinal information about who we are.
- SBC information about how we do ministry.
Why would we not require or expect it. WE WANT THEM TO BE PART OF US AND THEY SHOULD WANT US TO BE PART OF THEM.
Too many times I have encouraged someone to join knowing it would not be a good fit.
- Sometimes it is over just preference
Some have different thoughts on this. Should we make someone “sign” and “pledge” to do something? Does this not seem somewhat over the top for a local church?
This can provide for some wonderful discussion. Admittedly, I have changed my mind over the years. I once thought it was not necessary and I thought it was a “bit much” but in todays climate it seems almost necessary.
- As Dever points out is shows people “HOW WE LIVE TOGETHER AS A CHURCH” and if someone is coming to be part of us they are agreeing to LIVE AS WE LIVE.
- It allows us to have a clear-cut structure of purpose and expectations. It also lets our community know that we care about our family and we strive to live in a way that brings Glory and honor to the Lord.
- There original covenant hangs of their wall. 1878. Covenants were part of most if not every church when our country was founded.
“Church covenants make membership meaningful because they clarify the spiritual and relational commitments that membership signiﬁes. Clarifying the commitments of membership promotes the health of the local church because it keeps nominalism at bay and keeps us accountable to growing in real Christian piety. And the more we grow in true Christian holiness and love, the more evidence we have that we are indeed His disciples (John 13:34-35; 15:8).
Remember, their covenant was written in 1878
The Membership Covenant of Capitol Hill Baptist Church
Having, as we trust, been brought by Divine Grace to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to give up ourselves to Him, and having been baptized upon our profession of faith, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, relying on His gracious aid, solemnly and joyfully renew our covenant with each other.
We will work and pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We will walk together in brotherly love, as becomes the members of a Christian Church; exercise an affectionate care and watch- fulness over each other and faithfully admonish and entreat one another as occasion may require.
We will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, nor neglect to pray for ourselves and others.
We will endeavor to bring up such as may at any time be under our care, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by a pure and loving example to seek the salvation of our family and friends.
We will rejoice at each other’s happiness and endeavor with tenderness and sympathy to bear each other’s burdens and sorrows.
We will seek, by Divine aid, to live carefully in the world, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and remembering that, as we have been voluntarily buried by baptism and raised again from the symbolic grave, so there is on us a special obligation now to lead a new and holy life.
We will work together for the continuance of a faithful evangelical ministry in this church, as we sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines. We will contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the Gospel through all nations.
We will, when we move from this place, as soon as possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.
Some may say… We have never had a church covenant before. I would say (in a sweet way)… that could very well play into why we have the situation that we have in many of our churches today.
Questions we should ask of all new members.
- What is the Gospel? Explain how you came to Christ?
- Why are you leaving your previous church?
- Have you spoken to your pastor about this (this is one I ask)
NO PROCESS IS PERFECT
- We will have members leave mad.
- We will have members that do not live like they love the Lord or His church
- We will always be an imperfect church as long as I am your pastor..
THE KEY IS HAVING A PROCESS IN PLACE THAT WILL ALLOW US TO PLEASE THE LORD AND HAVE THE BEST OPPORTUNITY TO GROW INTO THE SPIRITUAL BODY OF CHRIST.
ESTABLISHING A CULTURE WHERE WE CAN BEST:
- Corporately Worship and Serve as the BODY OF CHRIST
- Have a true Gospel impact on our community
- GLORIFY GOD
- MAKE DISCIPLES