CHURCH MEMBERSHIP FAQ
Posted on April 6, 2014 by

What is church membership?

Jonathan Leeman in Church Membership describes church membership as, “A formal relationship between a church and a Christian characterized by the church’s affirmation and oversight of a Christian’s discipleship and the Christian’s submission to living out his or her discipleship in the care of the church.” In a sense, it’s about the church taking responsibility for you, and you taking responsibility for the church.

Church membership at CityLights is the process of formally joining CityLights, not just through your attendance, but also through your covenant and commitment. By joining CityLights, you are going from an attender or spectator to a participant. You are covenanting with other members to be involved in the life of CityLights, upholding like-minded, gospel doctrine, submitting to biblical authority, being involved in the spiritual growth of others, while being an active participant in the mission and vision of CityLights, to make disciples that touch their world with the love of Jesus.

Why church membership?

Some people say that church membership is necessary; others say it’s optional. At CityLights, we believe that local church membership is not only beneficial, but also biblical.

The Bible describes the church in unified terms as a flock, temple, body, and household of God (Acts 20, Ephesians 2, 1 Corinthians 12, 1 Timothy 3). The local church is a visible expression of a defined group of believers and their children in a particular geographical location (Revelation 2 and 3). According to the New Testament, when Christians were saved, they were added to a community (Acts 2:41). Being added was not just about attending the church on Sundays or following the church app. It was about being united with believers. In Acts 11:26, “Saul and Barnabas met with the church.” In Acts 12:1, “Herod arrested some who belonged to the church.” In Acts 14:27, “They gathered the church together.” You could not talk about a local church without talking about its members. It is like trying to talk about a family without talking about the people in the family.

Members of a local church family are committed to building one another up, exercising biblical accountability, submitting to pastoral/shepherding oversight by local God-appointed leadership, using the spiritual (grace) gifts for the common good, making disciples of Jesus in a local community while supplying for one another’s needs, ministering to the orphan, widow and poor in a community and together supporting local and global missions. Other than marriage, one of the biggest commitments you will make in the Christian life is which local church family you will connect with.

What is the mission of CityLights Church?

The mission of CityLights Church is to glorify God by making disciples that touch their world with the love of Jesus. Because of this, everything we do at CityLights is geared toward discipleship, from Sunday services to Community Groups to our prayer meetings.

What kind of church is CityLights?

CityLights Church is a community of followers of Jesus Christ, committed to live by faith, hope, love and prayer. The name of our community reminds us that we are called to illuminate the dark paths of our lost and broken city with the light of the gospel. CityLights is a diverse group of people connected to each other by the crafty hand of God who skillfully pieces our lives together for one mission. We are diligent as we wait in expectation and prepare the church for the Lord’s return.

Is CityLights a part of a denomination?

As of right now we are not aligned with a particular denomination, but we are currently pursuing membership with a church planting organization to assist us in our vision of planting churches.

What are the requirements of being a covenant member?

At CityLights, a covenant member must be a born again believer of Jesus, baptized through immersion and who has completed our covenant membership class.

What is Boot Camp?

CityLights created Boot Camp to equip followers of Jesus to be disciple-making disciples, growing in the basics of their Christian walk with God in a one-to-one or small group format. God calls us to plant and water the seeds, but He causes the growth. Boot Camp is a tool used by the Holy Spirit to help you grow into looking more like Jesus, while encouraging every disciple to make disciples, not just those who are in leadership.

What is Community Group?

Community Groups are weekly gatherings of six to twelve people that meet all over the city in homes or, if weather permits, in outdoor locations.

Community Group is the primary vehicle through which accountability, shepherding, mission, and teaching take place. In a sense, this is where life-on-life discipleship takes place.

Does CityLights teach tithing?

Yes. At CityLights, we encourage gospel-centered generosity, based on the example of God the Father giving His own Son, who gave His own life to redeem us. Although the tithe is a good measure of financial stewardship, we believe that gospel-centered generosity is about a lifestyle of giving according to 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. At CityLights, the tithe is a base from which to move beyond in giving generously as the Lord would lead.

What is church discipline?

Church discipline is a part of the discipleship process, where the Scripture is lovingly used to rebuke, exhort and correct one another, confronting sin and urging the disciple toward confession and repentance. Church discipline does five things: expose, warn, save, protect, and present a good witness for Jesus. Formative discipline takes place between believers through encouraging each other to obey, exhorting each other to perseverance, and holding one another accountable along the way (Hebrews 3:12-14, 10:24-25). Corrective discipline is handled by CityLights elders when there is serious, outward, ongoing, unrepentant sin through Scriptural instruction, correction and counsel. CityLights is committed to upholding Jesus Christ’s outline of confrontation in Matthew 18:15-20.

What is baptism?

Baptism is an outward expression of an inward faith relationship with Christ. Only those who have been brought from spiritual death to life in Christ are to be baptized. The act of being immersed in the water symbolizes our dying to sin/self and being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water is symbolic of Christ’s resurrection and our new life union with Christ. Baptism is our way of telling the world about our relationship with Christ. We love seeing people touched by the power of God as they enter into a new relationship with the Lord Jesus and make a public declaration of their faith through baptism. It really is a beautiful experience.

What happens if I have not been baptized?

One becomes a member of the true church by being born again by grace through saving faith, not by physical birth. It comes about not by an external act, but by a work done by the Holy Spirit in one’s heart. Baptism is one of our requirements for covenant church membership at CityLights, so if you have been born again and confess Jesus as Lord, we encourage you to sign up for our next baptism.

Can I be a covenant member if I’m living with my boyfriend/girlfriend and aren’t married?

No. Although we realize that everyone struggles at some level with sin and temptation, and that we are all works in progress, we uphold the biblical standard of sexual abstinence until marriage (Ephesians 5:3) and esteem the marriage bed as holy and honorable (Hebrews 13:4). Therefore, cohabitation is not acceptable for covenant members at CityLights. The Bible teaches us to abstain from evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22) and to not enter into temptation because the flesh is weak (Mark 14:38).

How long do I need to attend before becoming a covenant member?

We have no specified time frame. The requirements are the same as above.

Do I have to find a place to serve if I’m a covenant member?

No, but as a member of the Body of Christ, God has graciously gifted the members of His body to use their gifts to edify the body. We encourage each covenant member to be involved in using their gifts at CityLights through community groups, Sunday services, prayer meetings and through other specific ministry opportunities as they arise.

What are some areas I can serve at CityLights?

There are lots of formal and informal ways to serve at CityLights. Formally, we have ministries such as the Connection Team, Children’s Ministry, Worship Ministry, Men’s Advance, GLOW, and so on. Informally, you can serve the community through your Community Group, serve your brother or sister in Christ who has a need, or be available to pray and love one another.

Does CityLights have women pastors?

CityLights does not have women pastors. CityLights believes that men and women complement each other in their different duties and roles. We believe that biblically, men are to be overseers in the church (1 Timothy 3:2) and the home. We do not see women as inferior and men as superior. Instead, we see them as being identical in nature but different in function and role. The difference of the authoritative structure is not based on culture, but on the fact that Adam was created first. Some verses to look at are 1 Tim. 2:12-13, 1 Tim. 3:2 and Titus 1:6.

What are the benefits of being a covenant member?

There are lots of benefits! For example, covenant members are allowed to serve in certain ministries that involve a level of leadership, including teaching. Covenant members also have a greater level of accountability and protection under the authority of the church and its members who are invested in their spiritual growth.

What biblical support do you have for church membership?

Biblical support for church membership is found in Acts 2 where there is a numerical record of those who have professed Christ and been filled with the Holy Spirit (v. 41) and an acknowledgement that the church was tracking the growth (v. 47). Also they were assembled as believers who shared everything in common (vs. 44-45).

In Acts 6:1-6, we see elections take place in order to address a specific problem and accusation. In Romans 16:1-16, we see what appears to be an awareness of who is a church member. 1 Corinthians 12 speaks of how the local church is to function as the body of Christ. In 1 Timothy 5:3-16, we see a clear teaching on how to handle widows in the church.

What expectations are placed on CityLights covenant members?

Members participate as the church while sacrificing time, talents, and treasure. They commit to the community and care of their fellow members while submitting to the God-ordained authorities who shepherd the flock under the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.

What are your beliefs?

Http://www.lightinthecity.com/what-we-believe/

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