How does someone become a member of our church?
To become a member of Winnsboro Reformed Church contact one of the elders for a meeting. All new members are received through the Session (meeting of Elders) and announced to the church when they are received.
Basically, our church receives for members anyone who professes faith in Christ and has been baptized in a Trinitarian formula ("In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.")
What will happen at the meeting with the elders is simply a conversation where you can ask us questions and we can ask you questions. The privileges and responsibilities of membership will be explained and you will be received in a spirit of grace.
Vows of membership
Part of the process of joining our church is taking seriously Jesus' call to take up our cross and follow him. We take membership a little more seriously than the average church. The following is a list of five vows we ask members to make before the elders before they are received into the church. They're pretty basic. I'll list each one followed by an explanation.
(1) Do you believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the Word of God, and its doctrine of salvation to be the perfect and only true doctrine of salvation?
In other words do you believe the Bible is authoritative and do you trust what it says about God, Jesus, and eternal life? Do you believe that Jesus is the appointed means of salvation, the appointed Savior, and the only possible way an individual can be saved?
(2) Do you believe in one living and true God, in whom eternally there are three distinct persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—who are the same in being and equal in power and glory, and that Jesus Christ is God the Son, come in the flesh?
In other words do you accept the basic historic teaching of the Church--that God has revealed himself to man as a Trinity (three in one). This is not a requirement to understand the concept of the Trinity perfectly, or even to be able to articulate it well, but we do expect that a true believer will accept it by faith as the only way to properly understand all that the Bible has revealed about Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We also expect that any true believer will understand that Jesus is God Incarnate, or God come in the flesh and worship him as such.
(3) Do you confess that because of your sinfulness you abhor and humble yourself before God, that you repent of your sin, and that you trust for salvation not in yourself but in Jesus Christ alone?
This is the definition of a Christian. A genuine believer is someone who lives a life of repentance before God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Is that you?
(4) Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your sovereign Lord, and do you promise that, in reliance on the grace of God, you will serve him with all that is in you, forsake the world, resist the devil, put to death your sinful deeds and desires, and lead a godly life?
In other words are you a follower of Christ? Do you recognize him for who he is--sovereign Lord of all? And do you submit your will to his, no matter how imperfectly, trusting in his grace to help you as you forsake all else to follow him?
(5) Do you promise to participate faithfully in this church's worship and service, to submit in the Lord to its government, and to heed its discipline, even in case you should be found delinquent in doctrine or life?
Will you be faithful to the covenant community of faith? Do you understand that being a Christian means you have joined the body of Christ and that his body serves him in community? Do you recognize that the God-called leaders of the church are looking out for your spiritual well-being? And will you listen to their teaching and counsel as they minister to you?
After a meeting with the Session, if the Elders are in agreement that you are genuine believers in Christ and you are still certain that you wish to become a part of our body, then you will be asked to affirm the five vows of church membership before the Elders. Next it will be announced to the congregation that you have requested to become a member. If there are no legitimate objections raised by the members that cannot be resolved then the next week it will be announced that you have been accepted into membership.