Church Membership & Baptism
As Christians, we are members of God’s household (Eph. 2:19) called to function, participate, and minister in a particular place within the body of Christ. A healthy body requires that each member do its part well. A healthy church requires the same: members who are sacrificially committed and well-equipped to do the works of service that God has prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10; 4:12). Renewal Presbyterian Church holds membership in high regard; we call our members to lead as servants of the gospel to one another and to our needy world. God, in his sovereignty, placed us in this Philadelphia region, among these people, in this century, for a reason (Acts 17:26-27).
Being a member of Renewal Presbyterian Church is really about being part of a family. All members are disciples of Jesus, unified by their identity in Christ. This unity is expressed in the way they collaborate in loving God, loving fellow Christians, and loving non-Christians. Members who enter into a covenant with their local church are called to a higher degree of responsibility and service. At the same time, the elders and deacons are covenanted to assist members, to love and lead, provide counsel and aid, and pray for, teach, and guide them.
Renewal Membership Class
Our membership class serves as the entry point for those considering Renewal to be their church home. It also serves to lay the gospel foundation upon which our church lives and breathes. Content of the class covers an overview of our church and our core values, with a doctrinal exploration of Scripture, God, Creation, Sin, Salvation, and the Church. This class is required to be baptized at Renewal and to become a member of Renewal. (NOTE: Those who get baptized at Renewal become members of the church as well.)
Do I need to agree fully with Renewal’s theological positions to become a member?
There are central biblical truths (i.e. Scripture, God, Christ, the gospel) that we consider to be essential, which all Christians must believe. These essential truths must be subscribed to as part of the membership vows. However, we recognize that there are aspects of Reformed theology of the Presbyterian Church in America (our denomination) that Christians may wrestle with, and we allow room for differences on the non-essentials. Thus, while we do not require you to agree with absolutely everything to become a member, we do ask you to understand what the leadership at Renewal believes and teaches as biblical, and to agree not to be divisive over these theological issues. If you are able to do so in good conscience, we welcome you to become a member.
What do I need to do to become a member?
- Attend the membership class. We offer this class twice a year, once in February and again in October. We ask you to attend the entire class. We are not able to have makeup sessions, so if you need to miss a class we kindly ask you to take it the next time around, in fairness to other prospective members who attend the entire class.
- Personal Gospel Conversion Testimony. Our prayer is that through this class, you will receive confirmation and assurance of your salvation through the gospel of Jesus Christ. A written testimony of your personal salvation helps you examine your faith biblically (2 Cor. 13:5) and concretize your conversion experience. It will help the Session get to know and affirm your Christian experience. We ask for a 1-page, single-spaced testimony that clearly describes how you came to know and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.
- Membership Interview. We will ask you to consider various questions that should help you articulate your understanding and experience of the gospel. To confirm your membership at Renewal, we ask that you participate in a one-on-one interview with one of our pastors or elders. This is for our leadership to get to know you and affirm your membership commitment. Your personal testimony will be reviewed in your membership interview.
- Take your Membership Vows. The last step is publicly professing your faith in Christ and taking your membership vows before the congregation in our Baptism and Members Reception Service.
PCA Membership Vows
The following questions are the basic vows for membership at a PCA church:
- Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving His displeasure, and without hope save in [i.e., except for] 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
[promote] its purity and peace?