In the first century when the church was established, church membership wasn’t an issue. Everyone who became a follower of Jesus was connected to the local church and for a while, there likely was only one church in any city. But 2000 years make a difference. Now there are multiple congregations in every town and hundreds in any given city. It’s easy for someone to make the decision to become a follower of Jesus but never really get connected to any one congregation. But that doesn’t make it healthy. In fact, New Testament teaching leads us to believe that without a committed connection to other believers, that involves mutual edification and cooperative service, it’s highly unlikely that one can remain in a viable relationship with Christ himself.
With that in mind, church membership is an attempt to help people in formalizing their commitment to a local church and avoid simply moving from congregation to congregation without any real commitment. In many ways, it’s like getting married. Simply attending a church without any commitment is a bit like dating someone. You’re spending time together, trying to get acquainted and decide whether or not this is an individual that you want to spend your life with. If you decide they aren’t the one, you should move on until you find the right person. When you find the right person, you ought to make a commitment, exchange vows and go public with your intentions. Living together without the commitment of marriage is not unlike attending a church for years without becoming a member.
We’re always going to have people who are just attending our church. We assume that they are either learning more about what it means to become a follower of Jesus before they make a decision or that they are already a believer and are trying to decide whether this is a community that they want to belong to and commit to. We’re glad to have such people attending BVCC.
However, at some time we expect attendees to become members. Members are folks who have accepted Jesus as Lord of their lives and publicly identified themselves with Christ by being immersed and then made a commitment to a local congregation. It’s a commitment to the community and relationships as well as the mission and ministries. Here at Bow Valley, we invite people to make that commitment by signing a Membership Covenant and we expect folks to sign that covenant each year. It’s like an annual renewal commitment, in much the same way that a married couple celebrates their wedding anniversary.
It’s our hope that we all make progress every year in fulfilling these various commitments. Signing the covenant every twelve months is a great reminder of the commitment we have to Christ and the rest of His body.
The Membership Covenant is available at the Information Kiosk or you can download it to the right. It can be signed and turned in to the office at any time. We renew those covenants together at the beginning of each year, but those wishing to become members of Bow Valley throughout the year may also do so by signing this covenant at any time.
If you have further questions about membership, we’d invite you to request a visit from one of our Pastors. If you would like to become a follower of Jesus and be immersed, we’d love to visit with you about that too. Please let us know how we can help!