HOW TO BECOME A MEMBER
To become a member of First Presbyterian Church, please contact the pastor about your interest in membership. The Pastor will speak with you about the meaning and responsibilities of membership in the Church. A person may enter into the active membership of First Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in one of three ways:
Certificate of Transfer:
· Persons who have made a profession of faith and have been received into membership in a particular church may be received by the Session upon receipt of a certificate of transfer from the church in which they have been most recently a member.
Reaffirmation of Faith:
· It is sometimes the case that persons who previously made a profession of faith and became active members in a particular church are unable to secure a certificate of transfer or other evidence of church membership. After instruction and examination by the Session, these persons shall reaffirm publicly their profession of faith and their acceptance of responsibility in the life of the church.
Profession of Faith:
· When persons baptized as infants reach an age when they are ready to make public their profession of faith and accept their responsibility in the life of the church, the session should invite, encourage, and help them prepare for their responsibility as active church members. After instruction and examination by the Session, these persons shall publicly profession their faith and their acceptance of responsibility in the life of the church.
· When persons who have not been baptized desire to profess their faith in Christ and become active members in the life of the church, they shall do so by making public their profession of faith and receiving Baptism after appropriate instruction and examination by the Session.
It is important to note that all three ways of becoming an active member involve a profession of faith. To make a profession of faith is to state publicly one’s relationship with God in Christ. It is to commit oneself to the work and worship of Jesus Christ—to accept personal responsibility for one’s life in the church.
Presbyterians believe that every active member of the church is first a baptized member. So, those who desire to become an active member of First Presbyterian Church must receive the Sacrament of Baptism. In Baptism, a person is sealed by the Holy Spirit, given identity as a member of the church, welcomed to the Lord’s Table, and set apart for a life of Christian service.
Before the Session (and, again, before the congregation during a service of worship), those who seek active membership will be asked the following questions:
For those who have not yet been baptized:
· Do you desire to be baptized?
For those who have previously been baptized:
· Do you desire to confirm your baptism by your public profession of faith?
For all who come to profess their faith:
· Do you renounce evil, and its power in the world, which defies God’s righteousness and love?
· Do you renounce the ways of sin which separate you from the love of God?
· Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Lord and Savior?
· Do you intend to be Christ’s faithful disciple, obeying his word, and showing his love to your life’s end?
For those active members of the church in the congregation (and on the Session):
· Do you promise, through prayer and example, to support and encourage __________ to be (a) faithful Christian(s)?
Those who sincerely and publicly answer these questions in the affirmative (that is, answering “I do” to each question) are officially received into the active membership of the church.