Banner Image:   August 2022
Anyone who trusts in Jesus Christ for their salvation is a Christian. Christians receive the sign of baptism to signify that they belong to the family of God, the universal church. The universal church is the church in it's fullest sense, made up of every believer from every nation down the ages, those on earth and those now in heaven. So a baptised believer is already a church member in one sense!

However, the New Testament expects that, wherever possible, Christians should also belong to a local church, living in genuine and close community with other believers. Local churches are the tangible expression of the universal church, where the Christian life and hope are proclaimed and lived out for the surrounding peoples to see, so the local church has a very important role to play! It is also the local church which is charged with recognising a believer's profession of faith and baptising them into the universal church. 

Commitment to the local church matters if we are to fulfil our calling as Christians to be light in a dark world. For this reason, we have a system of church membership at Magdalen Road Church as a way of expressing our commitment to one another and to God. If you are trusting in Christ and seeking to live in obedience to him, and if you consider Magdalen Road to be ‘your church’, we would encourage you to become a member of the church.

What does becoming a member mean?

Church membership brings with it both responsibilities and privileges.
  • By becoming a member: 
    • You express your commitment to the other members of the church and to the church’s community life.
    • You declare your agreement with the central truths of the gospel, as expressed in the church’s statement of faith. 
    • You agree to respect the authority of the Elders, as those whom God has placed in a position of spiritual leadership in the community.
  • As you enter into membership: 

    • The church community accepts a responsibility to care for, encourage and disciple you. 
    • The church community and the Elders accept their responsibility to nurture the spiritual gifts that God has given to you, and to receive blessing from God through you.
    • The Elders of the church accept the responsibility of teaching you the truths of the gospel and ensuring that you are discipled within the church community.  
  • In practice, every church member is expected, wherever able, to:
    • Regularly attend when the community gathers to worship, principally on Sunday mornings. 
    • Regularly pray for the other members of the church, for the church’s community life, and for our witness to the world.
    • Regularly give financial support as able in order to ensure the continued ministry of the church. 
    • Regularly serve the community life of the church in whatever ways appropriate to his or her gifts and calling. 
    • Regularly attend the business meetings of the church and contribute to decision making within the life of the community.

Why become a church member?  

  • For your own good : Christians grow in their understanding of their faith, and in their confidence in Christ, as they encourage and nurture one another in committed, gospel-centred relationships.  By making a formal commitment to the church community, you ensure that people will be looking out for you and seeking to bring you into those relationships.  Membership of the church will help you to grow in the good times, and to stand fast when tempted in the bad times, because you are committed to other Christians and they are committed to you. 
  • For the good of the Christian community : God places Christians into community so that they can serve one another. The New Testament uses the image of a body - the body of Christ - to describe the way in which each person within the church contributes something to the overall life of the community.  In short, we need one another if we are all to grow up into the likeness of Christ.  The church needs your gifts, experiences and character. 
  • For the good of the non-Christian world : In our individualistic culture, one of the clearest signs of the truth of the gospel is the deep, committed community life of a church.  Commitment to one another is central to our witness together.

Who can become a church member? 

Church membership at Magdalen Road is open to Christian men and women from the age of 18 who: 

  • affirm and demonstrate a clear faith in the Lord Jesus and a determination to walk worthily and to serve faithfully;
  • are in agreement with the church’s statement of faith;
  • have been baptised. While the practice of the church is believers’ baptism by immersion, we also welcome those who received a different form of Christian baptism, such as infant baptism, and who hold in good conscience that this is an acceptable form of baptism. Such people will not be required to receive baptism as a believer in order to become a member. However we do ask those who were baptised as infants to ensure that they have thought the matter through carefully, on the basis of Scripture, and also to accept that as a church we will teach believers' baptism.
  • Where appropriate, the elders will also request a letter recommending you for membership from your previous church.

What’s the next step? 

If you are interested in exploring membership, please email us to request an application form. When you have submitted the completed form, an elder will invite you to an informal interview. If it is appropriate, a recommendation will be made to the leadership to approve your application. Once this has happened you will be received into membership at a Sunday morning service.

Although this process is formal, and involves serious commitments, we want this to be a positive experience for you. We trust that your application will lead to a very fruitful and enriching relationship. 

Further reading

    » What We Believe: The statement of faith of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches.
    » The Church Constitution and Rules: The guidelines that regulate the way the church works and serves.
    » The Church We Want to Be: The main focal points of the church’s life and ministry.