Article VI: Church Membership
Section 1. Purpose of Membership.
The congregation of Christian believers who have applied for membership and have been duly accepted shall constitute a spiritual body, united for the spiritual purposes as set forth in Article II of this Constitution. In particular, “The purpose of Grace Church, therefore, is to reveal the holy character and caring heart of God to a perishing world.” Under this overarching purpose, membership at Grace Church plays numerous crucial functions, which include formally affirming while concretely experiencing the familial and covenantal unity created in Christ into which the new covenant community is saved; deepening the enjoyment of the real presence of Christ promised in corporate worship in song, prayer, Word, and the administration of the ordinances; establishing an institutional base from which to pursue more effective service, love, and care, both in the covenant community itself and in the unbelieving communities in which we live; strengthening the lines of accountability in the personal pursuit of holiness; and opening us up to the severe mercy of church discipline (see Article XIV).
Section 2. Active Membership.
Active membership in Grace Church shall be open to all persons who, having repented of their sin, have turned to Christ as Lord and Savior, who have been baptized (by immersion) in obedience to the Word of God, and who have signed the Membership Application Agreement.
Section 3. Membership Application Agreement.
Grace Church membership is contingent upon signing the Church Membership Application Agreement which signifies that the new prospective member understands and agrees to abide by and be held accountable for the Church’s beliefs, positions, and policies as outlined in the Constitution, as they govern every aspect of Church life, including Church discipline and counseling. Should disagreement in any of these areas ever occur, members will hold Grace Church and the Church leadership harmless. There will be no appeal to any court.
Section 4. Voting Privileges.
Membership in Grace Church shall not vest in any member any proprietary rights in the Church but shall only entitle the member to vote on those matters submitted to the Church membership by the Elders, at any duly called meeting of the members. Voting privileges are restricted to members who have passed their twenty-first (21) birthday and are limited by the restrictions explained in further detail in Article V. Membership shall not be assignable inter vivos by any member nor shall membership vest to any personal representative, heir or devisee.
Section 5. Priesthood of Membership.
As men and women who have put their trust in Christ, the membership of Grace Church comprises a Priesthood of Believers, and as such, will be asked to assist the Pastor/Teacher and the Elders with the administration of the ordinances of baptism and communion, or any other such matters which the Elders may from time to time decide upon.
Section 6. Membership and Baptism.
Grace Church holds that the only valid baptism taught in Scriptures is Believer’s Baptism by immersion, or in other words, baptism that is received after one’s commitment to Christ. The Church holds that baptism by immersion is not necessary to salvation but rather is an important step of obedience in every believer’s life and walk with Christ (see Article II). For this reason, the Church considers this very important step of obedience as a requirement for Church Membership (see Article XX on baptism).
Section 7. Applications for Membership.
Parties interested in Grace Church membership shall be given a Membership Application Agreement along with a copy of the Church Constitution, which includes the Doctrinal Statement and all Policy/Position Statements. The Pastor/Teacher or any other Elder shall then meet privately with the applicant; a time in which the applicant is encouraged to ask questions about the positions held by the Church.
Each applicant shall agree to abide by the Church Constitution, sign the Membership Application Agreement, agree, if necessary, to be baptized by immersion, testify before the Elders, and give their testimony publicly before the Church membership at a regularly held meeting.
Section 8. Denial of Membership.
If, upon review of an application for membership and/or after meeting with a prospective member, the Elders determined that (a) the applicant does not confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; (b) there is a lack of evidence of a godly lifestyle; and/or (c) there is reasonable doubt as to the applicant's willingness to abide by the Grace Church Constitution; membership will be denied to the applicant. The decision made by the Elders shall be final and there shall be no appeal to any court from that decision.
Section 9. Admission of Applicants.
Applicants admitted to membership shall, if possible, present themselves at a worship service designated by the Pastor/Teacher or the Elders, at which service such applicants shall be publicly acknowledged as members.
Section 10. Removal from Church Membership.
Members in good standing who have fulfilled their obligations to the Church, or satisfactorily arranged the same with the Elders, should provide the Elders the name of the new church they plan to covenant with, or inform the Elders when such a decision has been made.
A member of Grace Church who shall willfully, without plausible reason or excuse, absent himself from the services of this Church for a period of one (1) year, or shall be publicly dismissed as a result of Church discipline (see Article XIV), shall be removable from Church membership at the discretion of the Elders.
The Church will not accept a member’s resignation if the Elders believe that the purpose of said resignation is to avoid Church discipline. It may be that Church discipline will result in the public dismissal of the erring member, but that will be the decision of the Elders, not the erring member who has accepted the accountability of Church membership as described in Section 1 of this Article.
Section 11. Supporting the Ministry of Grace Church of DuPage.
An integral part of our worship of God and faithful service to the church involves our financial contributions to the ministry of Grace Church. As noted in Section 1, Grace Church members are people who are serious about their Christian walk. Therefore, members should honor the Lord with their monies cheerfully, and in accordance with how God has prospered them, and in a way that illustrates their serious devotion to God and their desire to meet the needs of our church and for advancing the gospel (Proverbs 3:9,10; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4; Mark 12:41-44; 1 Corinthians 16:1, 2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-15; 9:6-15).
Section 12. Church Membership Covenant.
Having been led by the Spirit of God to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, and having made public confession of our faith through baptism to show our identification with Christ, we freely and joyfully enter into a covenant with one another as one body in Christ, seeking the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
We pledge, therefore, by the aid of God’s Spirit, to live together in Christian love by exercising an affectionate care and watchfulness over one another, and faithfully encouraging and admonishing one another in the faith. We will rejoice with one another’s joys and bear one another’s burdens with tenderness and grace.
We pledge to work for the advancement of God’s kingdom through His church by the spiritual disciplines of the Word, prayer, evangelism, worship, and fellowship. We also promise to sustain its ordinances and doctrines, and to support its ministry by a faithful stewardship of our money through cheerful and regular giving, and with the devoted use of our time and giftedness, thus to spread the gospel through all the nations.
We further pledge to follow Christian principles of morality in our daily lives, being ethical in our dealings and faithful in our commitments, and denying ungodliness and worldly lusts in our pursuit of holy living. We will strive for Christlikeness in ourselves and in our families.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.