Today’s reader of the Pauline letters is at first glance inclined to read frequently the recurring ‘in Christ’ in an individual sense. This is frequently referred to as a ‘personal relationship to Christ.’... Their reference is ecclesiological... Thus ‘being in Christ’ does not mean a purely individual relationship between Christ and the believer. It means belonging to the realm within which Christ rules, and that realm is his body, the community. This is the basis on which every individual is wholly bound to Christ and to her or his fellow Christians.
— Gerhard Lohfink

Church Membership & Baptism

About Membership

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 in Immanuel 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 five membership vows.

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.