A Weighty and Wonderful Commitment
Our consumeristic culture encourages people to keep their commitments light and to dabble – take a little from here, a little from there. But the biblical vision for church involvement is a robust relational commitment to the teaching and the common life of a church. Historically, Christian churches have called believers to express that commitment through covenant membership.
Thats why Covenant Membership is both a weighty and wonderful commitment that is driven by a unified desire to submit ourselves to the authority of Scripture. When one becomes a covenant member of Athens Church they join a spiritual family that provides encouragement and support. They are called to a biblical degree of responsibility, service and sacrifice to their brothers and sisters. Our elders and leaders also pledge to assist our Covenant Members with care, counsel, prayer and teaching.
Becoming a Covenant Member at Athens Church is a four-step process.
1. Covenant Membership Class
As you think about making a decision to join the church, we offer a class that covers what it means to be a Covenant Member, as well as our DNA, basic beliefs and theological distinctives. We want you to know exactly what it means to join and what is required when you do before asking you to make a decision.
2. Membership Interview
Following your Membership Class, you’ll be invited to meet with an Athens leader for a Membership Interview. This is a time for us to get to know, hear your story more personally and answer any questions you may have about our membership covenant.
3. Finalizing Membership & Next Steps
Your Membership Interviewer will help you take any next steps to finalize your membership. For you, this may be signing your membership covenant and helping you take a next step in serving, community, and giving. For others, it may be walking with you through any additional requirements for membership, such as baptism.
Baptism is intended only for those who have professed faith in Jesus Christ and can give sufficient testimony to the basics of Christian beliefs. We baptize by immersion because it is not only the original significance of the word but also best symbolizes the reality to which baptism points—our death and resurrection in Christ.
If you have not been baptized following salvation, we ask you to take this step before becoming a Covenant Member. To help prepare you, we offer a Baptism Class. The class covers the biblical significance of baptism, frequently asked questions and gives you an opportunity to share your testimony.
4. Membership Vows
Following the completion of any remaining steps, we’ll invite you come up front on a Sunday morning, take our membership vows, and be welcomed by the congregation.
Once you become a Covenant Member, we will ask you to participate in our annual Covenant Membership Renewal process each fall. This online process gives each of us the opportunity to reconsider the weight and responsibility of church membership. It also provides the staff and leadership the occasion to be reminded of what God has asked of us as we lead and shepherd the flock of God among us.
Another benefit of Covenant Membership Renewal is that we can get an accurate assessment of how many members we actually have. Members are asked to give updated contact information, provide feedback, etc. These logistical details are essential to our desire to know and love the people the Lord has entrusted to us.
Covenant Membership Renewal will take place online each year. We ask all members to complete this process and to take seriously the chance to be reminded of our roles and responsibilities as members of the body of Christ. We encourage you to set aside a period of time to not just check the requirement off a to-do list but rather to read and prayerfully consider the opportunities and responsibilities that accompany membership in a local church.