Church membership is just as vital for the growth, development, and maturing of the believer as it is vital for a baby to be brought up in a family (John 1:12; Ephesians 2:19), or a sheep to be a member of a flock (John 10:27; 1 Peter 5:2), or even a stone or brick to occupy its place in a building (1 Peter 2:5). Membership is a connection with God and His people through which there is growth, accountability, encouragement, and ministry (Romans 12:5). One grows in their faith and serves their Lord through membership in a local church. We believe our Lord will lead each believer to serve Him in a specific local church (note 1). Those sensing the Lord’s leading to become a member should come forward during the invitation and speak with a pastor. He will help you to determine which of the following steps represents your response:
1. Profession of faith in Christ followed by believer’s baptism by immersion (note 2).
2. Statement of faith and baptism whereby the believer gives testimony that they have received Christ as their Savior and they have demonstrated that faith through baptism by immersion in a church of like belief and order as Southside. Some come by statement for baptism.
3. Transfer of letter from another Baptist church signifying that they have received Christ and been baptized by immersion as a believer.
Someone will assist you in filling out your decision card, and you will be presented to the church after which members will begin to welcome you personally. It is critical that you get involved in a Bible Study or Sunday School class as soon as possible, as these smaller groups are best able to meet your needs, help you grow, and provide you with opportunities to serve.
Note 1: While all believers are members of the church of the living God, it is clear that the Bible teaches that this membership is expressed through identifying with a local church. Believers in Jerusalem were referred to as the “church at Jerusalem” (Acts 11:22). There was the church in Antioch (Acts 13:1). Elders from the Church in Ephesus met with Paul (Acts 20:17). Priscilla and Aquila had a church that met in their house (Romans 16:5). In numerous passages in the New Testament, membership was expressed through local fellowships.
Note 2: Baptist have adopted immersion as the best illustration of one’s personal faith in the death (standing in the water), burial (being place under the water), and resurrection of our Lord (coming up from the water). Passages like Matthew 3:16, John 3:23, Acts 8:38 and Romans 6:4 indicate that immersion was the most likely mode of baptism in the New Testament. While we recognize that modes such as sprinkling represent a very meaningful demonstration of faith in other denominations, we also believe that when God leads someone to become a member of a Baptist church; they will be most willing to demonstrate their faith in the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection as all other members have, through immersion.