Membership & Baptism

Membership

We believe that church membership is a helpful tool to develop relational accountability and corporate vision for the mission that God has in store for Arnold Community Church. Because of this, we invite everyone who desires to become members of ACC to initiate the covenant membership process.

Why church membership?

If we call ourselves Christians we are part of (a member of) the Body of Christ that is strategically placed throughout the world. God’s Word recognizes smaller congregations and encourages them to be organized. As an example, Peter instructs elders to watch over their flock, which would be an impossible task if the elders did not know who their flock was (1 Peter 5:2). The majority of the books found in our New Testament were written to local churches that were scattered throughout the Mediterranean, showing that local churches were established.

Why should I become a covenant member of Arnold Community Church?

One of ACC’s desires is for people to experience authentic community.  We believe that God models eternal community.  God exists in perfect fellowship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  We believe that God has created men and women to also live in community with one another.  Therefore, we desire to serve one another in authentic community, even when this calls for personal sacrifice.  According to the Bible, a byproduct of authentic community is its inherent attraction to unbelievers.  Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35).

Although the word “membership” is not recorded in the Bible itself, we can see evidence of this concept throughout the New Testament.  At Pentecost, a numerical record was kept of those who entered into faith (Acts 2:37-47); records were kept of widows (1 Timothy 5:3-16); elections were conducted (Acts 6:1-6); and there was an awareness of who church members were (Romans 16:1-16).

Also, to help facilitate a biblical community that can be held accountable to the precepts that are given throughout Scripture, we believe that God has given elders a special task in the church.  Paul’s teaching to the elders at Ephesus is evidence of this: “Guard yourselves and God’s people.  Feed and shepherd God’s flock — his church, purchased with his own blood — over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders” (Acts 20:28).

The writer of Hebrews commands the church to “obey your leaders and submit to their authority.  They keep watch over you as men who must give an account.  Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17).  We believe that covenant membership is one way that elders can more easily fulfill their God-given role in our community and also help others fulfill their role and calling.  This is the charge that Paul gives to Timothy: “I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he appears to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God.  Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.  Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching” (2 Timothy 4:1-2).

Are there benefits to being a member?

By entering into a covenant membership with Arnold Communit yChurch you will not inherit special status among other believers.  Entering into a covenant with the community of ACC is a form of accountability that goes both ways: ACC and its leaders are held accountable to you and you are held accountable to them.  This covenant is an attempt to allow the elders and leadership of ACC to fulfill what God has called them to and to assist you in your own spiritual development and maturity.  While ACC encourages every follower of Jesus to serve His church using their spiritual gifts, those who have not agreed to covenant with the rest of the ACC church family through membership cannot serve in an overseer role (a member of the Elder Team), in a paid pastoral/director role, or in a teaching role.

The commitments mentioned in this covenant should not be read as contractual obligations.  Instead, they should be understood as statements of aspiration and expressions of support for one another as a part of the local family of God.  Covenant membership is not designed to keep people in or out.  The purpose is to foster a sense of unity and purposeful community amongst those who willingly submit to God and one another and who thus become a covenanting member at Arnold Community Church.

How do I become a member of Arnold Community Church?

  • Contact the church office to arrange a meeting with the Lead Pastor.
  • Have been regularly attending and engaging in the life of ACC for a period of time that you sense there is a fittedness.
  • Attend a seminar that outlines ACC’s theological distinctives (Mennonite Brethren), vision, core values, and membership expectations.
  • Demonstrate agreement with the Mennonite Brethren theological confession of faith, ACC’s vision, values, and membership covenant.
  • Prepare a written testimony that describes your faith experience and commitment to Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour that will be shared with the church family.
  • Demonstrate that you either have received believer’s baptism or you are also requesting believer’s baptism in conjunction with becoming a member of ACC.

Baptism

Arnold Community Church is a Mennonite Brethren church which embraces evangelical, Anabaptist theological distinctives.  Regarding baptism, we embrace the following:

Confession

We believe that when people receive God’s gift of salvation, they are to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Baptism is a sign of having been cleansed from sin. It is a covenant with the church to walk in the way of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Meaning

Baptism by water is a public sign that a person has repented of sins, received forgiveness of sins, died with Christ to sin, been raised to newness of life, and received the Holy Spirit. Baptism is a sign of the believer’s incorporation into the body of Christ as expressed in the local church. Baptism is also a pledge to serve Christ according to the gifts given to each person.

Eligibility

Baptism is for those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and commit themselves to follow Christ in obedience as members of the local church. Baptism is for those who understand its meaning, are able to be accountable to Christ and the church, and voluntarily request it on the basis of their faith response to Jesus Christ.

Practice

We practice water baptism by immersion administered by the local church. Local congregations may receive into membership those who have been baptized by another mode on their confession of faith. Persons who claim baptism as infants and wish to become members of Arnold Community Church are to receive baptism on their confession of faith.

Matthew 3:13-17; 28:18-20; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:2-6; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Colossians 2:12-13; Galatians 3:26-27; Ephesians 4:4-6

What’s involved in being baptized at Arnold Community Church?

  • Contact the church office to arrange a meeting with the Lead Pastor.
  • Demonstrate a regular attendance and engagement in the life of ACC for a period of time that you sense there is a fittedness.  At Arnold Community Church, being baptized into Christ is also being incorporated into His Body which is best expressed in the local Church.
  • Attend a seminar that outlines ACC’s theological distinctives (Mennonite Brethren), our understanding of baptism, vision, core values, and membership expectations.
  • Demonstrate agreement with the Mennonite Brethren theological confession of faith, ACC’s vision, values, and membership covenant.
  • Prepare a written testimony that describes your faith experience and commitment to Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour that will be shared with the church family.
  • Participate in a worship service where the church is gathered to celebrate and affirm your commitment to Jesus through baptism.