Church Membership & Baptism
All of our neighbors, believer and skeptic alike, are warmly invited to visit our church, and to investigate the claims of Christ and the work of his Spirit in the members of this congregation. There are countless ways for our neighbors to become involved in many aspects of our shared life together in the region.
However, that which has been true of most churches throughout history is also true of us: committed church membership is a privilege and responsibility that we encourage regular attenders to strongly consider. Although we live in a highly individualistic and consumeristic society where membership is dismissed as peripheral, we believe the Scriptures teach that Christians must make a formalized commitment to other believers in a community. This formalized commitment is called membership.
Membership is to make a public promise to live according to the Word and to support the work of the congregation. In the Bible this is called a covenant. It means that you have committed yourself to this family of believers, that you have agreed to participate fully in the life and mission of our church.
The process of becoming a member of Immanuel looks like this:
1. The Membership Seminar: The regularly offered “Introduction to Immanuel” seminar is ordinarily the first step, although it in no way obligates you to membership. You fill out an application and then move onto the next step.
2. The Membership Interview: After the seminar, if you would like to pursue membership, please take the initiative and speak with a member of the pastoral staff regarding setting up an interview. Generally, these meetings last about 45 minutes and are designed to allow us to get to know you better, to hear how you came to be a Christian and what God is doing in your life, and to allow you to ask any questions you might have about the church. The staff member will ask you to give assent to the four membership vows:
1) Do you know that you are a sinner before God and that you deserve nothing but the wrath of God, and the only way for you to be saved is God's great mercy?
2) Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the only savior of sinners, and as the gospel says, Jesus is the only One who can save you and that you believe and trust him alone?
3) Do you trust the gift of the Holy Ghost to give you a desire to follow Jesus Christ, and will you forsake sin and live according to Christ's teachings and examples?
4) Do you promise to submit yourself to the disciplines of the church, and to seek for the peace and purity of the church?
3. Reception: Following the interview, our Session will meet to receive new members into the church. Then, at a Sunday worship service, you will be asked to come forward and affirm publicly the membership vows. Those who have not been baptized previously will receive Holy Baptism at that time. And welcome to Immanuel!
Whether or not you officially join Immanuel, we pray that God would use this church to change your life and to equip you to change the lives of your friends and family. We are delighted to have you as a part of this worshipping community that we believe God will indeed use to transform Central New Jersey through the gospel of Jesus Christ.