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The Holy Scriptures implore us to seek unity together in faith, that we might be “fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household” (Ephesians 2:19). We are not to walk the path of faith alone; we are meant to sharpen each other, encourage each other, support each other and pray with each other. Church membership allows us to work together and confess together. You will be blessed by being a part of a Christian household of faith.
Being a church member is not always easy. There are people to get to know, procedures to follow, commitments to make. Lots of people would rather not bother with such things. But the truth of the matter is that we are blessed by participation. As Christians, membership is our calling.
Becoming a member is a good way to publicly confess Christ and make a commitment of encouragement and support to St. Paul’s ministries, teachings and congregation. Maintaining active membership in the church signals that you are prepared to receive communion at the Lord’s Altar. Members of St. Paul’s can also vote in congregational decisions and be elected to a church office.
The process for becoming a member is not to exclude; its purpose is to prepare candidates for this commitment and for the church roles and responsibilities available to members. Baptism is the first membership requirement. Baptism makes one a Christian and a member of the church (Galatians 3:27, Ephesians 2:4-6). St. Paul’s recognizes Trinitarian baptisms performed in other Christian congregations. Confirmation is the second membership requirement. Confirmation classes for adults, entitled “Bible Basics and Lutheran Teaching,” are held at different times throughout the year. Confirmation instruction for youth is a two-year program that usually begins at 7th grade. Children of member parents will be seen as members but not confirmed members until they have completed confirmation instruction. See Confirmation and Bible Classes for more information.
Those desiring membership at St. Paul’s can obtain a Statement of Intention from the church office and make an appointment with a pastor. Following the successful completion of the membership requirements new members are publicly received and welcomed into the congregation through a Reception into Membership performed during a worship service, which also serves as a Rite of Adult Confirmation. During that part of the service, new members come forward to respond to the following questions:
- Do you confess the Christian faith as drawn from the Holy Scriptures and as confessed in the Apostles’, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds to be your faith?
- Do you accept and confess that the teachings of the Evangelical Lutheran Church are faithful and true to the Word of God?
- As a member of this congregation, do you intend to continue in the confession of the Church, attend worship faithfully, make diligent use of the means of grace, and lead a righteous and godly life?
- Will you support the work our gracious Lord has given this congregation with your prayers, time, treasure and talent?
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a member of St. Paul’s, contact the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 573-0295 to arrange a time to speak with a pastor.
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