We of First Baptist believe that “membership” is more than a name on a list or a social club. Membership implies being a part of a larger body, as the metaphor the Apostle Paul frequently used in Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, and Colossians. This "body" of Christ has both a "head" and "members." The "head of the body, the church," is Christ Jesus. He is at the same time the source, sustenance, and goal of all that exists (Colossians 1:15-18). The fullness of the deity dwells in Him, and He reconciles us with God through His death upon the cross (1:19-22). The complete life of God comes to the church through her head (2:9-10). All things in creation have been placed "under His feet," for God "gave Him to be head over all things." Through Christ's headship, we share fully in the divine life and in His rule. All things are "under" Christ and "to" the church, "which is His body, the fullness of the One who fills all things in every way" (Ephesians 1:22-23). Christ's life thoroughly permeates the church.
The body also has "members." The Baptist distinctive of regenerate church membership is rooted, in part, in the biblical teaching that we are "members of Christ" (1 Corinthians 6:15); and, correspondingly, we are members of His body (1 Corinthians 12:18, 20). To be a Christian is to be united with Christ Himself. The bodies of Christians are not their own, for "he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him" (6:17).
Moreover, through her head, the church is "nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments [and] grows with the increase that is from God" (Colossians 2:19). As the church speaks truth in love, it grows in every way "into Him who is the head — Christ" (Ephesians 4:15). Growing in life with Christ is why being a member of the body — the church — is so important for Christians.
Likewise, Christians grow in Christ through service in His body. The diverse gifts of the church have their one source in the one God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). The diverse gifts are practiced through diverse members, and each is necessary for the proper functioning of the body (12:14-22). Moreover, each member is granted unique honor (12:23-25). Furthermore, each member shares in the life of the other members, both suffering and glorying together (12:26). Just as our lives depend upon our participation in Christ, so Christians also are called to participate in His sufferings "for the sake of His body, which is the church" (Colossians 1:24). Finally, God gave gifts to the members of the body, not for selfish reasons, but for her mutual "edification" or the "common good" (1 Corinthians 12:7; 14:5).
And we believe the preponderance of the biblical evidence is that believers are called together to be in union and unity with a LOCAL body of believers who are united in faith and doctrine, through saving faith and having received believer’s baptism (by immersion), and committing to active participation and service along side that local body.
If you choose to unite with First Baptist Church, we have the following, biblical expectations of all members:
1. Protect the unity of my church
- By acting in love toward the other members (Romans 14:19)
- By refusing to gossip (Ephesians 4:29)
- By abiding by the terms of this agreement, this church’s bylaws, and Doctrinal Statement.
- By cooperating with my pastor and the spiritual leaders of this church (Hebrews 13:17)
2. Share the responsibility of my church
- By praying for its spiritual and numerical growth (I Thessalonians 1:2)
- By inviting the unchurched and others to attend it’s worship (Luke 14:23)
- By warmly welcoming those who visit our services (Romans 15:7)
3. Serve in the ministry of my church
- By discovering my spiritual gifts and talents (I Peter 4:10)
- By accepting training and equipping for ministry from my pastor (Ephesians 4:11,12)
- By developing a servant’s heart and a teachable spirit (Philippians 2:2,4,7)
3. Support the testimony of my church
- By attending its services faithfully (Hebrews 10:25)
- By living a godly life (Philippians 1:27)
- By contributing financially on a regular basis (I Corinthians 16:2)
- By Participating in the Ordinance of the Lord's Supper (I Corinthians 11:24)
How do I become a member of FBC?
Membership comes through a few avenues:
1. Profession of faith in Jesus Christ alone for your eternal salvation and liberation from sin accompanied by baptism and acceptance into this body. While not absolutely required, we do request that new believers actively participate in our new members class.
2. For those who have already professed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and who have been scripturally baptized (immersion, under the authority of a local New Testament Church of like faith and practice), you may seek membership on promise of a letter of recommendation from your previous church.
*For the limited cases where your previous church letter is unavailable, the church, upon examination, may welcome you on your clear statement of faith and scriptural baptism.