“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18
Description of Membership/Discipleship
The membership of this church is a body of baptized believers who have publicly professed their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, bound together voluntarily by the common bond of love for Jesus Christ working together under the Holy Spirit to do His work on earth through the giving of their time, tithes, and their talents/spiritual gifts.
Criteria for Membership
All persons desiring membership of the Reedy Fork Baptist Church must come to the altar, when the pastor or his appointee extends the invitation to membership. The pastor or his appointee will interview and present the person to the congregation as a candidate for membership.
Persons may be received as members based on criteria as follows:
A person, who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, adopts the principles of Christian faith and the principles of the Baptist Church. He/she must satisfactorily complete new member orientation, be baptized by immersion and receive the right hand of fellowship.
A person who is a baptized believer in accordance with the principles of the Christian faith and in good standing (good standing defined as being in weekly/monthly attendance with recorded contributions), may be received by letter from a sister church. It is that person’s responsibility to request a letter from his/her previous church to be sent to this church relative to his or her past membership. After completing new member orientation and receiving the right hand of fellowship, that person is then received into the fellowship of this church with all rights and privileges.
A believer who declares prior membership in a sister church but cannot present a letter from that church, which is in accordance with the principles of Christian faith and demonstrates those principles in his/her Christian walk, may be received on Christian experience, after new member orientation.
A person desiring restoration to this church must come to the altar and appeal to the church as a candidate for membership. Upon completion of new member orientation and receiving the right hand of fellowship, that person receives all rights and privileges of a member.
A person who is temporarily located in the vicinity of Reedy Fork Baptist Church for 12 months or less may be accepted into fellowship under Watch Care by majority vote of the congregation. After 12 months persons, will be notified relative to their membership status. In lieu of new member orientation, the Watch Care candidate will receive pastoral briefing of Reedy Fork Baptist Church policies and procedures. Persons who are Watch Care members cannot hold any official office or participate in the electoral process (vote).
A person desiring to become a member of Reedy Fork Baptist Church, who has previously practiced another faith/religion, is required to follow the criteria as outlined for Membership by confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, adopting the principles of Christian faith and of the Baptist Church. He/she must satisfactorily complete new member orientation, be baptized by immersion and receive the right hand of fellowship.
Duties of Members
The duties of members include constantly obtaining scriptural knowledge; constantly progressing in spirituality, in accordance with Galatians 5:22-23:
22 But if the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.
- It is the duty of members to honor, esteem and love their Pastor, to pray for him fervently and daily; to submit to him in the scriptural exercise of his official authority; to constantly support his ministrations; to manifest a tender regard for his reputation; and to contribute toward his support in proportion to their ability.
- It is the duty of each member to cultivate and cherish brotherly love for all other members of the church and to show their love by using all proper measures to promote their spiritual benefit and prosperity. Differences between Christian brothers and sisters must be resolved in accordance with Matthew 18:15-17.
15 Moreover if they brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church; but if he neglects to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
- It is the duty of members to be exact in fulfilling obligations and promises toward those who are not connected with the church, and as opportunity and ability may enable to share the gospel of Christ with them.
- It is the duty of a member removing from the vicinity of the church, to take a letter of transfer to another church of the same denomination; but should this not be possible, to furnish their name and place of residence within three months after leaving the church.
- It is the duty of members to strive for the advancement of this church by showing Christian love for one another, attending service on a regular basis, contributing through recorded tithes and offerings to the support of the church and its evangelical mission. (Records of financial contributions are necessary to validate benefits and privileges of membership). Members should use their talents/spiritual gifts and time in the various ministries to help lead others to Christ.
- It is the duty of each member to attend church business meetings where church matters are discussed and acted upon. Each member should also be a good steward of what God has blessed him or her with and strive to develop as a Disciple of Christ.
- It is the duty of each member to train their children in accordance with Proverbs 22:6. Thus recorded, Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Experiences reveal to us that children from birth to about age eleven acquire core beliefs and values that will be with them throughout their life.)
Rights and Privileges
- After receiving the right hand of fellowship, a member will receive all rights and privileges to question and vote on any transaction of church affairs and to participate in ministries or activities of the church.
- All members in good standing have the right to be present at business meetings and to participate in the electoral process (vote) in all matters that are acted on at these sessions.
- All members in good standing have the right to submit issues to the moderator prior to business meetings for inclusion on the agenda.
- All members in good standing have the right to use Reedy Fork Baptist Church facilities as defined in the RFBC Policies and Procedures Manual.
- All members in good standing at the time of their death have the right to funeral services as established in the RFBC Policies and Procedures Manual.
- All members in good standing, who experience death in their immediate family, will have the choice of receiving either a benevolent gift $100 to a designated member of the immediate family person or a meal prepared for the immediate family, Bible and Church support (church support defined as members individually desiring to assist the family by providing food, performing errands or by other means to comfort the family).
Immediate family is defined as:
All members in good standing who are hospitalized or who undergo surgery will receive the prayers of the church, communion, visits from the pastor, deacons, ministry leaders and other support as needed, provided they have notified either the pastor, assigned deacons or church administrative assistant. A member in good standing who experiences hospitalization will receive a benevolent gift of $50 per quarter, not to exceed a maximum of $200 per year.
Criteria for Termination of Membership
Letter: Any member in good standing who requests a letter of transfer to any other sister church (church or same denomination), may receive a letter of transfer upon the majority vote of this church. The church to which membership is transferred shall be named in the letter and the letter shall be sent to the Pastor or Clerk/Administrative Assistant of the receiving church.
Death: Membership terminates at death. The membership rights of a deceased person do not pass on to any living person.
Exclusion and Dismissal: The church can terminate membership of any member who has failed to represent the church in an exemplary manner either by immoral or unchristian-like conduct or by willfully disregarding the duties and responsibilities of his/her membership. Termination of membership can only be accomplished by a majority vote of the members present in a special or scheduled church business meeting or conference. Prior to subjecting a member to vote for dismissal, efforts to bring the member to repentance in accordance with Matthew 18:15-17 (refer to page?) must have been proven unsuccessful.
The church may also terminate membership due to failure of attendance or no record of contribution for a period of six months. Members with certified medical disability, members on active military duty and college students are exempt.