How do I join the Chichester Baptist Church?
While visitors are always welcome to attend any services, church membership is very important for several reasons. First, membership gives one a fuller sense of belonging; rather than just attending 'a church', one can then honestly refer to the church as 'my church.' Second, it provides an avenue for involvement, since most ministry opportunities are open only to the church members. Thirdly, the Scripture refers to the local church as the "body of Christ," and instructs us that each member is important and fulfills an important function for the good of the whole body; just as a body part must be attached to a body, so every believer should be attached to a body of believers. Finally, it provides a tool of accountability which Jesus Himself devised. He instructed His disciples that the church would be an authority to maintain godliness and discipline within the church family (Matthew 18), and Paul insists that the church has the responsibility to watch over its membership, and hold accountable any member who is a "fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner" (I Corinthians 5:11).
We believe that salvation, biblical baptism, and personal holiness are the Bible's requirements for church membership. Because of this, we will accept new members in only three ways:
1. After a person has been saved by repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they may be baptized into the membership of the church. The church in Jerusalem set the pattern for this when three thousand people were saved on the day of Pentecost, and then baptized by immersion. Upon their baptism, they were "added" to the membership of the church (Acts 2:41). If you have been recently saved, one of our church staff or personal workers will be glad to speak with you about how you can be baptized into the membership of the church.
2. If a person has been saved and subsequently baptized by immersion in a Baptist church elsewhere, they can be added to the membership of our church by a letter from the church where they are currently a member. Such a person would go forward at the close of a service, and inform a personal worker that they wish to transfer their membership from their former church, and our church clerk will contact the other church with a request for a letter of membership transfer. Because of differences in doctrine with some other churches and denominations, and for the sake of clarity and consistency, we only accept membership transfers from Baptist churches.
3. If a person has been saved and subsequently baptized by immersion in a Baptist church, but has lost their membership because of one of the sins mentioned in I Corinthians 5, or through inactivity, they can join the church through rededication of their life. If such a person is sorry for their sinful activity, and has a desire to be reconciled to the Lord and His church, they can come forward during the invitation at the close of the service, and tell a personal worker that they wish to join the church through rededication of their life.
In every case, decisions regarding the addition of new members are settled by a vote of the adult church members in attendance at that time.