Membership at Zion Lutheran Church
Membership at Zion Lutheran Church is a privilege open to all. When an individual desires membership in the congregation, he or she also agrees to carry out the responsibilities of such membership. Often the responsibilities of membership are undefined or assumed. In an attempt to help all the members and perspective members of Zion understand the privileges and responsibilities of church membership, a basic description of expectations follow:
BAPTIZED MEMBERS are those who have been baptized in the name of the Triune God (Matt. 28:18-20) and who are under the spiritual care of the pastor and elders of this congregation. This includes those who have not yet gone through instruction classes that we in the Lutheran Church call Confirmation.
Infants and unconfirmed adolescents are welcomed into membership at Zion through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, which calls all to live according to God's will, renouncing the devil and all his works and ways, and to confess the faith in the one true Triune God.
CONFIRMED or "Communicant" MEMBERS are those Baptized Members who have been confirmed in the Lutheran Faith. That is, they have gone through study of the Holy Scriptures where the central teachings of the Scriptures are examined in light of the Lutheran Confessions, particularly the Small Catechism, contained in the Book of Concord of 1580, where after such examination and study the individual can with a clear conscience hold such teachings as true expositions of the Word of God. Confirmed members are then encouraged to regularly partake of the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-27), which gives them their "communicant" standing.
Confirmed members pledge themselves not to become members of any organization whose teachings are in conflict with the Word of God. Communicant Members are received into membership through the rite of Confirmation, or in the case of adult transfers from sister congregations by going through Zion's new member process called Welcome to Worship. Adult transfers are welcome to partake of the Lord's Supper prior to becoming official members. However, they are just asked speak to a pastor prior to communing at Zion for the first time.
Welcome to Worship
Central to the make-up of our congregation is our worship life. Understanding our worship life gives direction to our daily life. Knowing how God serves us with his Word and sacraments allows us to go out into our community and world to serve others in the name of Jesus Christ. Therefore Zion asks all perspective new members (and invites any current members) to go through this 10 week process in order to understand and rejoice in the distinct nature of our worship and faith life at Zion and thus partner with us as we endeavor to be witnesses to Jesus Christ to those in our community, those in our lives and "even to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
For those who have not been confirmed it serves as an introduction to the confirmation process, where continued study would then take place after this process. Arrangements for continued study can be made on an individual or group basis. We hold deeply to solid biblical teaching and our Lutheran confessional teachings and so desire to honor the Lord's call to properly teach and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). Hence our rigorous approach to being confirmed.
Expectations & Partner Promises
Zion Lutheran Church understands and appreciates that each member is an important part of our congregation and endeavors to maintain partner promises with all such members. Accordingly, members are encouraged to maintain an expectation that Zion will be a congregation which faithfully proclaims the Scriptures, teaches sound doctrine, regularly preaches the truth of sin and deliverance from sin through Jesus Christ, and equips her members to reach out to others with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Members are encouraged to partner with us in holding Zion Lutheran Church accountable to these standards.
As Zion Lutheran Church is held accountable by such partner promises, there are expectations that Zion would also have of each member. Such expectations are grounded in the Scriptures and can be summarized by noting that Zion members will endeavor to:
- Conform their lives to God's Word; Psalm 119:9,105; James 1:22.
- Attend Worship Services and Bible Classes regularly; Acts 2:42-47; Romans 1:16.
- Attend the Lord's Supper frequently; Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20.
- Provide for the Christian instruction and training of unconfirmed children through our Sunday School, Lutheran Day School, or Mid week confirmation classes; Proverbs 22:16.
- Honor the Lord through the Godly stewardship of time and talents, along with regular tithing of the financial treasures given to us by the Lord; Matthew 6:19-21;1 Corinthians 6:19- 20; Malachi 3:8-10, Leviticus 27:30.
- Pray for their pastors, teachers, staff, and fellow church members; Ephesians 6:18.
- Support the entire work of the congregation and the promotion of God's Kingdom in the world at large (missions) by their speech and personal involvement beyond their worship attendance and regular offerings; Colossians 2:19; Ephesians 4:16.
- Offer support and encouragement to other members of the congregation; Philippians 2:1-5.
- Refrain from bringing action in civil court against a fellow member of this congregation; 1 Cor. 6:1-8.
Members who are involved in the life of the congregation as described above are considered to be Active Members. Active members also include shut- ins and those who are known to be unable to attend public worship regularly. Inactive Members are those members who have intentionally and willfully not attended public worship over a period of three months; and/or have willfully and intentionally not communed over the same period.
Confirmed Members who have reached the age of 18 years, and are in good standing, are considered to be Voting Members of the congregation, and as such, are invited to attend the Quarterly Voters' Meetings, and are expected to willingly accept responsibility according to the abilities God has given them.
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17