Gospel Relevance

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On the Induction of New Church Members

So far we’ve looked at various aspects of church membership, like What to Discuss in a Church Membership Class and 5 Responsibilities of Every Church Member. Today’s post is geared toward pastors. If you’re a pastor and it’s the Sunday that you’re scheduled to induct new church members, what do you say?

On the induction of new church members

That was my question. Thankfully, all that and more is covered in Lee Eclov’s helpful book, Pastor Service Manual. Borrowing from Eclov, below you’ll find some material on what to say when you’re formally inducting new church members. In parenthesis is guidance and/or justification for what you say; in quotations is what to literally say.

Opening Line

(It’s helpful to start with generating excitement because this is exciting. Without being gimmicky, say something quickly about why today is an exciting day. Also, bringing up new church members to the stage helps to match faces with names.)

“Well, [enter your church name here] today is a great day because today we are inducting three new members for church membership. Will Bob, Suzy, and Ryan please come to the stage.”

Addressing the Subject of Church Membership

(This is where you want to briefly mention a theology of church membership. Quickly say what it is and why it matters.)

“In 1 Timothy 3:15, the Apostle Paul tells Timothy that the church is the household of the living God. The church is the body of Christ in which Christ is the head, the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit. As believers in Christ, we are related to each other as members of his body. That’s why the church is sometimes referred to as a family. The persons before us have been brought into this family through their personal confession of faith in Jesus Christ. Having been examined and approved for church membership here at [enter your church name] they come to be publicly received and welcomed by our congregation.”

“Church membership matters. It’s important for every Christ-follower to find and not just attend, but join a Christ-centered church. Joining a church displays a sign of commitment both to God and his people.”

Basic Commitment of Church Members

(This teaches prospective church members that joining a church isn’t just a one-time act, but an ongoing commitment. It also serves as a refresher for existing church members.)

“Our new church members here on stage have agreed to the basic commitments of church membership like faithful church attendance, to strive for unity in the church, to maintain a close relationship with the Lord through the spiritual disciplines, through giving of finances and spiritual gifts for the building up of the church, and by adherence to the basic theological beliefs of [enter church name here].”

Personal Touch

(I like to add a personal touch because it communicates love, warmth, friendliest — especially for new people. Quickly say something personal of each member.)

“It’s been great to get to know all three of you. Bob and Suzy, I’m thrilled that you are at this church, and it’s been great getting to know you. Ryan, I’m so glad you found this place, and that you feel like this church is home.”

Affirmative Statements

(You want the new church members to publicly declare some basic commitments of the Christian faith. Ask the questions and invite them the answer in the affirmative if they agree.)

“At this time, I’m going to ask you some basic questions about Christianity and your role in the church. Please answer them in the affirmative by saying ‘I do’ if you agree with the question.”

1. “Do you confess faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and do you desire above all else to live for him?”

2. “Do you desire to join this congregation known as [enter church name]?”

3. “Do you declare your intention to live in harmony with the theology and beliefs of this church?”

4. “Do you promise to nurture your walk with the Lord through the spiritual disciplines and to love other believers in this church?”

5. “Do you promise to support this congregation by your faithful attendance at its services, by your encouragement of its leaders, the willing use of your talents in its ministry, and the giving of your means as God has prospered you?”

Welcoming Words of Gesture

“Well, dear friends, we give hearty thanks to God who has opened your hearts and minds to see the glory and beauty of Jesus Christ and has led you to unite with us as a church. We hereby officially and gladly welcome and receive you in the membership of this congregation. I’m so thrilled that you’re here.”

Round of Applause

“Can we have a round of applause for our new church members?”

Pray

(You may want to appropriately lay hands on the new church members and briefly explain that this action happens in the Bible (Numbers 8:10; 1 Timothy 4:14) not as a weird, mystical thing, but simply as a tangible sign of agreement and commissioning).

“Lord Jesus, you are the head of the church. Thank you that we get to be apart of your people. Thank you that you pursued us and opened our hearts and minds and granted us faith in you. We thank you for Bob, Suzy, and Ryan, and that they have formally joined our church today. I pray that you will help them to grow in their knowledge of you, that they would seek to glorify and obey you with their lives. Please protect them from the evil one. Give them a love for their local church. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

“Alright, guys, you may be seated.”

A Word About Church Membership

(This is where you remind people of why church membership matters in hopes of convincing those who are contemplating church membership to take the step forward and join.)

“As you saw, Bob, Suzy, and Ryan have officially and formally become church members today. Church membership is a biblical and right response to personal faith in Christ, and if you have any questions about it, I’d love to connect with you.”


 

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and son. Learn more.