iConnect – The Next Step to Discover Trinity
Membership and Membership Classes
Next Class: September 15, 2013
People may worship at Trinity for just days or years before they make Trinity “their church.” Eventually they take the next step and do decide to become a member. There is no prerequisite for how long one attends before becoming a member. People may work and serve faithfully in responsible positions on the same basis as members except that they may not hold an ordained office (such as elders or deacons), key leadership positions (ELTs), or vote in congregational meetings. Membership is not required to be an integral part of this church family.
So, What Does It Mean To Be A Member?
First, church membership is, in a sense, like the difference between being married and dating. People can date for quite a while. But marriage says, “I am committed to being here. When something happens that I don’t like, I’m not going to just leave. I’m going to stay here and work it through.” This kind of commitment is what God looks for from us in our relationships - for it is the commitment He has demonstrated to us in Jesus Christ.
Second, another important part of membership is that it is a public statement before the world of our faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “The person who confesses Me before the world, I will confess before my Father in Heaven but the one who denies Me before the world, I will deny before my Father in Heaven.”(Matthew 10:32) Church membership is a great way to make a public proclamation of our commitment to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Last, we hold up that we are created for community. While becoming a disciple of Christ is a matter of an individual, personal decision, it by no means, individualistic. Our basic form of existence is in the company and companionship of followers of Jesus, joined together in a particular place and time, in order to be a witness to the Gospel. We covenant together, as a community of faith, dedicated to live out our faith together in our neighborhood and world. And that’s what membership means; to publically join with others in order to worship and serve our Lord Jesus Christ.
What Does It Take To Be A Member?
The only requirement for membership in a Presbyterian Church is the profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. If one has not been baptized previously, they will be baptized when they become a member. We offer required membership classes (iConnect 2.0 Classes) normally three times a year for adults, once a year for youth (8th-12th grade) and once every other year for 5th though 8th graders to prepare people for membership.
What Is The Purpose Of The iConnect Class?
The iConnect classes have three purposes.
Explore the Faith: The first is to explore the meaning of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. We take a look at the rich history of Christianity, consider our common beliefs, ask questions about our faith, and reflect on what God is doing in our own lives.
Discover the Mission: The second is to look at our common life and mission of Trinity. We have different leaders in the church come in and talk about what is going on in different ministries. We also take time to discover our own gifts and desires in order to find out how we might join with others in the larger mission of Trinity.
Build Relationships: The third purpose is to build special relationships with others in the church family. It’s a great way to make new friends and get better acquainted with people who attend Trinity. The relationships formed during New Member classes often continue after the class is done.
After The Class If Someone Wants To Join, What Do They Do?
A Presbyterian Church is characterized by the fact that it is governed (overseen) by men and women chosen by the congregation as elders. In fact, presbuteros is the Greek word for “elder”. In our church, elder is more a title than a description. These elders (called the “session”) are responsible for receiving people as members of the church.
After class is done, those who wish to become members are invited to meet with a few of these elders to share their faith in Jesus and share why they want to become members. It is a very special sharing time which all enjoy. Once they meet with interested persons, the session “receives” them by a simple vote. A brief covenant is signed.
During a designated worship service, the session introduces those people who have joined the church to participate in the worship service, where they repeat their vows and are welcomed by the congregation. If needed, baptisms take place during the worship service as well. Each new member receives a certificate of membership and is placed on the roles of the church.
If Someone Is Not Sure They Want To Be A Member, Can They Still Come To The Class?
Yes! The class is for exploration. No one is committing themselves to anything by coming. Most people who come to the classes end up becoming members of the church, but some decide to wait on membership while they continue to worship and serve with us. The classes are for personal exploration, growth and clarification.
When Are The Classes?
Adults: The iConnect classes are held on a Sunday in the Ralph Weeks Room, from 12noon to 2:30pm. Nursery care (ages 0-3 ½) is provided. Childcare is provided upon request. Lunch is also provided. Talk to Pastor Tamara Letts(firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Youth: The Youth New Member (Confirmation) class for students in 7th-12th grade will be held Sunday mornings starting in January 2014. For more information talk with Youth Director Aimee Ronning (email@example.com) or at 345-4823.