Membership Matters

At First Baptist Church of Garland (FBCG), we believe that church membership makes a difference.  This belief is based on what the Bible teaches about the church in the New Testament.  As a church, we attempt to model our ministry practices and beliefs on biblical truth.  The following list provides answers to questions you may have about church membership and how it applies to you.

Why is church membership important?

In the New Testament, the church is referred to as a family (Galatians 6:10) and a body (I Corinthians 12:27).  Both of these metaphors imply a sense of belonging and being connected with others.  In a culture which emphasizes the individual, church membership points out how much we truly need each other to do “life together.” 

How do I become a member of FBCG?

At FBCG, we receive members three ways – by profession of faith, by transfer of membership (letter), and by statement of faith.

Profession of faith: this is when a person by faith receives Christ as Savior and follows this with scriptural baptism as a public profession.

Transfer of membership (letter):  this is when a person has been a member of another Baptist church and chooses to transfer membership from that church to FBCG.

Statement of faith: this is when a person has been a member of another non-Baptist church of like faith and order, has received Christ and been scripturally baptized previously, and chooses to join FBCG as a member.

What’s the difference between “Sunday School member” and “church member”?

Sunday School member: anyone at anytime, on any Sunday, can choose to be a Sunday School member by simply enrolling in one of our ongoing Bible study groups. From this point forward, the person is a member of our Sunday School, entitling him/her to receive church publications, other communication about the class, and information about the church at large. No spiritual requirements or other commitments are necessary to be a Sunday School member. We intentionally make it simple, so that classes can build relational ministry bridges with people who are seeking to draw closer to God – regardless of their present spiritual condition.

Church member:  Sunday School Members are not Church Members. This requires additional steps and commitments as noted above.

What about baptism?

Scriptural baptism includes elements of both timing and method.  In the New Testament, every baptism followed a new believer’s conversion experience to trust Christ as Savior.  So, we believe that baptism is a “next step” of obedience to God in one’s personal relationship with Him.  In terms of method, every New Testament baptism was by immersion (going fully under water).  Even Jesus endorsed this method in His baptism.

What about my children?

We believe that every individual is personally accountable to God for his/her spiritual condition and journey.   Some people come to faith in Christ as children, while others make this decision in their teenage years or as adults.  Therefore, we also consider membership an individual matter.  A parent’s membership is seen as separate from the membership status of their children.  We strongly encourage and equip parents to actively share their faith with their children, with a view toward them also receiving Christ by faith.

Why are “Dinner With the Pastor” and “New Member Orientation” important to me?

In an attempt to help people learn more about the church prior to membership, we offer Dinner With the Pastor on Sunday nights during the year.  This is a time when people can hear the Pastor’s vision for the church and learn about our ministries in a casual setting, with no strings attached.

Once people join FBCG as members, we strongly encourage them to attend New Member Orientation, held six times a year on Sunday mornings.  This meeting gives new members information about how they can get more involved in ministry and establish greater connections with the church, its mission, and ministries.