“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” Romans 12:4-5
As Christians, we are members of God’s household (Ephesians 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. For this reason, Coastal holds its members in high regard.
God, in His sovereignty, placed us in this community, among these people, in this century, for a reason (Acts 17:26-27). The members of Coastal are missionaries who live, eat, and breathe the climate of Charleston, SC every day, placed in the culture to emulate Jesus. Members also serve within the church: during Sunday services, as children’s teachers, small group leaders, on the prayer team, offering support to the sick and needy, showing hospitality, and on and on.
Being a member of Coastal is really about being part of a family. 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 pastor/elders are covenanted to assist members first and foremost, to love and lead, provide counsel and aid, as well as to pray for, teach and guide.
I want to be a member: What should I do?
1. Start acting like one. Demonstrate your love for the church by volunteering.
2. Make yourself known. Don’t keep your life to yourself. Join a LIFE group and get with other Coastal folks to grow together in maturity, leadership and love.
3. Get on mission. All prospective members are asked to take the Membership Class to study and learn the essential mission of Coastal.
Church Membership is simply a way for you to formally say that you’re “all in” here at Coastal and that this is your church family! It’s an outward way of expressing a commitment you’ve made.
Some might argue that formal membership is not necessary, that your actions prove your commitment. While I agree that the proof is always in the “fruit”, I believe it’s a matter of “both/and” not “either/or”. I want a church filled with people who are willing to BOTH live out their commitment by the way they serve, give, support, & share AND who are willing to stand up and say so publically and be accountable.
Simply signing your name to a piece of paper or coming forward at the end of a service obviously doesn’t ensure that people will be committed, but why the hesitancy to do so? Does a Marriage License or a Wedding Ceremony guarantee that people will stay faithful? Obviously not, but there is something powerful and meaningful about the public declaration itself. Does Baptism in and of itself save you? No, but it is an outward declaration of your faith to the world. Does it guarantee that the people getting Baptized will live different lives? Obviously not. But for some reason, Jesus said it was important and for us to do it – both/and.
In the Old Testament, we’re quick to quote Joshua’s challenge to the people (Joshua 24:15), “Choose this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” We even put it up on signs in our home. Read all of Joshua 24 in it’s context. Joshua was calling out the children of Israel to stand up and be accountable for their decision to serve the Lord – be accountable to each other, to their leaders, and to God. In fact in vs. 22 he said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the LORD.” He then went a step further and wrote everything down and set up an altar to remind them of their commitment. Did those documents or that physical altar make them faithful? Again, obviously not, but they were important reminders – both/and.
People sign up for and commit to all kinds of crazy things today without “reading the fine print” or giving it a second thought, but they “take a stand” against formal church membership. Please – that dog just don’t hunt here. And just because it doesn’t seem to mean something to other people you know – well, you be different! Help us make it mean something here at Coastal!
Different churches historically have had different methods of expressing Membership. We have 4 simple requirements for Membership at Coastal:
- That you have personally accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
- That you have been baptized as a believer by immersion.
- That you have completed our Membership Class.
- That you have agreed to our Membership Covenant.
We go over each one of these in detail in our Class. We also talk about our Structure of Ministry, our Statement of Faith, and our Strategy. We expect those that lead and teach here at Coastal to be Members.
Our next Membership Class is Monday, June 26, 6-9pm.