Why does Stuart Heights Baptist Church have “members”?
Stuart Heights is a church, and the Bible uses the metaphor of a body to describe the church: ‘‘For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ’‘ (1 Cor. 12:12). It’s a beautiful illustration of how we’re each created to serve different functions, we need everyone to function in order to be a healthy body, and all of us as separate parts find purpose and unity under Jesus, ‘‘the head of the body, the church’‘ (Col. 1:18). Members are the church (Eph. 2:19-22).
What’s the difference between a member and somebody who just goes to Stuart Heights every week?
At Stuart Heights, we make a distinction between “members” and “guests.” If you’re not a member, then you’re technically a guest that remains to a certain extent separated from our church family, and separated from the maturity, protection, accountability, and care that comes with being an active part of the church. This may not make much difference for visitors and non-Christians, but Christians who consume rather than commit to a local church do a disservice to Jesus’ body (the church) and themselves. Members, on the other hand, participate as the church: sacrificing time, talents, and treasure; committing to the care and community of their fellow members; and submitting to the authority God has established to lead our congregation.
Why should I become a member?
The church of Stuart Heights is a family, adopted by God (Gal. 4:6-7 Eph. 1:5). We care for each other, pray for each other, and serve together. If you’re already a Christian, if you’re already in some form of Stuart Heights community, if you’re already giving of your finances and your time, then you’re already fulfilling some functions of a member. Without making an official commitment, however, we cannot provide the same level of pastoral care and community support, in part because we may not know who you are, and in part because the Bible requires that we take care of our family first (Eph. 2:19 cf. Gal. 6:10).
If you’re not a Christian, don’t worry about membership until you’ve been reconciled to God through Jesus. If you are a Christian who has spent a lot of time at Stuart Heights, however, search your heart and identify your hesitation. There may be valid reasons to abstain from Stuart Heights membership. But we’re rebels by our cursed nature; if you bristle at the very idea of becoming a member, ask yourself why–and don’t hesitate to speak with a pastor.
What are the benefits of being a member?
Scripture calls us a body, a family, a household–being a Christian is not a solo effort. Jesus works through the church (Eph. 2:10), the church is Jesus’ body (1 Cor. 12:27), and apart from Jesus, you can do nothing (John 15).
This isn’t Blockbuster, it isn’t a country club, and it isn’t 24-Hour Fitness. Again, members are the church. ‘‘In love [God] predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ…So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God’‘ (Eph. 1:4-5 2:19).
The benefit is that we get to worship Jesus together, serve in His kingdom, and be children of God! We enjoy the guidance that his Word provides, and, when sin comes between us, we enjoy the reconciliation Jesus’ blood provides.
How do I become a member?
We offer a series of Growth Track classes (a total of 4). To become a member, you must take the first class, Growth Track 1. Here you will learn about our church history, why we believe what we believe and why we do things the way we do them.
Do members have to be baptized?
Since Jesus commands that all of his disciples be baptized, baptism is a requirement for all Stuart Heights members (Matt. 28:19 Acts 2:38 10:48 1 Peter 3:21). If you’ve already been baptized since you became a Christian, you don’t need to get re-baptized. Stuart Heights performs believer baptisms only, which means we don’t baptize infants. If you have more questions about baptism specifically, please speak with a pastor.