We Take Church Membership Seriously.
Membership is understood differently among churches in Tyler TX, so we think it’s important to explain what we believe about church membership. In short, church membership is a big deal to us because church membership seems to be a big deal to God. If you’re interested in membership at Sylvania Church, we have developed a way for you to get to know more about Sylvania and for the leadership at Sylvania to get to know more about you. We call it the Discover Sylvania Luncheon. The primary purpose of this time is to help you determine whether Sylvania Church is the place God wants you involved as an active member of the body of Christ.
Here’s how it works.
Church Membership Process.
First, we feed you lunch. For free. We’re all ready off to good start, huh? ;)
Following lunch, one of the pastoral staff or elders will walk you through what Sylvania believes, what Sylvania does, where Sylvania is going, etc. Afterward, you will have the opportunity to ask questions or make comments about… well… anything, really. This works well because it provides you with an opportunity to ask questions about Sylvania and an opportunity to put our ministerial staff and elders on the spot.
At the end of this discussion and once all questions have been answered satisfactorily, we typically pray for you and end the meeting, adding that if you are all ready convinced Sylvania is where God wants you, you may stick around afterward to share your testimony with an elder or ministerial staff member, explaining the Gospel, the circumstances leading up to your salvation, and what God has been doing in your life since that time. The purposes of this are, 1) to let us hear that you understand and believe the Gospel of Jesus, and 2) to encourage one another with stories of God’s truly amazing grace.
Now, you may be thinking, “If Sylvania is a Baptist church, why don’t they accept letters of transfer from those coming from other Baptist churches?” The real reason is that we believe God is going to hold the leadership at Sylvania, not the churches from where our members transfer, accountable for who joins Sylvania Church. As such, we take the responsibility very seriously. Plus, we are always blessed to hear how God saves His people, and are also blessed to explain the Gospel to those who do not yet know it!
Church Membership Requirements.
We believe that Sylvania Church is an extension of God’s universal Church, which embraces all true believers around the world. Our primary requirement for church membership is just what the Bible requires for membership in the universal Church. That is, salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
Our good works, our church attendance, our baptism, our tithing, our family background, our walking the aisle or other experience is not what gets us to God. Each one of us must personally repent and believe in Jesus Christ as our only savior. Acts 4:12; Titus 3:5-7
Therefore, when you request church membership at Sylvania, you will be asked to tell your personal story of how you came to know Christ. The pastor or an elder will meet with you one-on-one to hear your story. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the right words. The pastor or elder will be able to help you understand and express your experience if you need him to. We love to do that! It is the great joy of being a pastor or elder to hear the personal story of how our Lord Jesus has made a difference in your life!
Adults and children who have repented of their sins, professed personal faith in Jesus Christ, been baptized, have been through the membership process, agree with the church doctrinal statement, agree to walk in harmony with the church constitution and have affiliated themselves with Sylvania, are eligible to become members.
Church Membership Responsibilities.
The biblical picture of church membership is far more substantial than singing songs and listening to a Sunday morning sermon before bolting out the door. Though such is common in American culture, it is foreign to the New Testament church, which enjoyed genuine fellowship, or community, that was grounded in their common bond in Christ and aimed at glorifying Him (1) by using their individual gifts and talents to serve those within the local church and (2) by fulfilling the many “one-another” commands found in the New Testament. The following is not an exhaustive list (the New Testament is the exhaustive list of church membership requirements), but are some of the responsibilities of our church members.
- Attending consistently (Heb. 10:25)
- Serving the church with your individual gifts and talents (I Peter 4:10)
- Spurring the other members of Sylvania on toward love and holiness (Heb. 10:24)
- Providing humble accountability (Mt. 7:1-7)
- Giving regularly of your money (I Corinthians 16:1-2a)
- Praying for pastor, elders and leaders (I Timothy 2:1-2)
- Protecting unity by treating others in a Christ-like manner and by refusing to gossip (Ephesians 4:29)
- Submitting to the authority of the elders (including discipline) (Hebrews 13:17)
- Welcoming those who visit (Romans 12:13)
- Living an exemplary life, pleasing to God (Philippians 1:27)
Interested In Joining?
To find out more about Discover Sylvania or to register for a luncheon, please contact one of our secretaries, who may be reached by phone at (903) 592-1591 or by emailing us. Simply let us know you’re interested and we’ll walk you through the rest of the details.
We hope to see you there!
More About Church Membership.
9Marks is our favorite place to turn for biblical church membership and has, in fact, shaped in a great way the way we view church membership altogether. So far, we haven’t found a holistic understanding of biblical church membership that we think is more reflective of what the Bible says about church membership. Check it out.