To become a member of Christ’s church is to enter a committed relationship of giving and receiving. This committed relationship is what the Apostles’ Creed calls “the communion of the saints.” And the heart of this relationship is beautifully summarized in Heidelberg Catechism question 54:
Question: What do you understand by “the communion of the saints?”
Answer: First, that believers one and all, as membership of this community, share in Christ and in all his treasures and gifts. Second, that each member should consider it a duty to use these gifts readily and cheerfully for the service and enrichment of the other members.
This relationship of giving and receiving is both a great responsibility and a profoundly enriching experience. As members of Christ’s church, we not only receive the ordinary means of grace through the preaching of God’s word and the celebration of the sacraments (that is, baptism and the Lord’s Supper), but members of South City Church also enjoy the fellowship of a committed community of believers, the privilege of voting in church elections, and the spiritual oversight and practical support of our elders.
Because we share in Christ and all his treasures, church membership also entails giving our lives away for Christ in community. We do this by keeping our membership vows to support the church in its worship and work to the best of our ability and by submitting ourselves to the government and discipline of the church as we pursue its purity and peace.
If you desire to become a part of this kind of community at South City Church, there are three basic steps in the process:
STEP 1: NEW MEMBER AND COMMUNICANTS CLASSES
Adults who wish to join South City Church should participate in our new members class, which is either held during the Sunday School hour at various times throughout the year or as a Saturday intensive class with an evening meal. Participating in the class does not commit you to joining the church. We simply invite you to come and learn what South City Church is all about, what we believe, what membership involves, and how we seek to fulfill our vision and mission for the glory of God and the joy of all peoples. Even if you are simply transferring your membership from another PCA church, we still ask you to take the class.
Before children become communing members (that is, participate in communion) at South City Church, they must go through a communicants class. The communicants class, which is offered at least once a year during the Sunday School hour, is designed for children who have expressed a desire to participate in the communion service. For more information on how we seek to welcome children to the Lord’s Supper, please read our position on shepherding and preparing our children as a church.
STEP 2: MEMBERSHIP INTERVIEW
Following one of these classes, each participant who desires to become a member will be scheduled for an interview with two elders. Please don’t worry! This is not an exam. It is an opportunity for new members to share their testimony of faith in Jesus and discuss the five membership vows that members take when joining the church. These interviews are enjoyable times of encouragement and fellowship, which usually last around 30 minutes.
STEP 3: MEMBERSHIP VOWS
After you have gone through the new members class and met with the elders, you will be given the opportunity to publicly affirm your faith by taking the following membership vows:
- Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving his displeasure, and without hope save in his sovereign mercy?
- 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?
- Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as becomes the followers of Christ?
- Do you promise to support the church in its worship and work to the best of your ability?
- Do you submit yourselves to the government and discipline of the church, and promise to further its purity and peace?