The church is the community of Christians for all time who have been loved and saved by Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:25)...so why does Element have members?
We believe that all Christians should vitally involved in a local church (Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.) Our current culture is so individualistic that it pushes community and friendships aside for autonomy. But, we are not called to live the life of salvation in isolation (even though most Christians irritate each other).
The Bible is clear that every Christian is a part of the larger church body and is expected to participate in the life of a local church with the gift(s) God has given him or her(I Corinthians 12:1-31). Biblically speaking – part of how we are to show fruit and life is by US being together and learning how to live. God calls us to be one – in unity because we love Christ. Our God doesn’t only sit as a sovereign individual but is a community within Himself (trinity).
In the proper functioning of a church there are various roles laid out in the scriptures.
Elders are the male leaders of the church who are also called pastors, bishops, and overseers (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 4:11; I Peter 5:2). The elders are men chosen for their ministry according to clear biblical requirements (I Timothy 2:11-3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). The elders are always spoken of in plurality because God intends for more than one man to lead and rule over the church as a safeguard for both the church and the man.
Deacons are essentially assistant pastors. Unlike elders, deacons can be either male or female (I Timothy 3:8-13 especially 3:11), as with the example of the woman Phoebe (Romans 16:1-2).
Members are the Christians who are actively participating in the life of the local church so that it is built up for God’s purposes (I Corinthians 12:1-31 especially 12:24). The Facts of Membership
- A numerical record was kept (Acts 2:37-47)
- Records were kept of widows (I Tim. 5:3-16)
- Elections were conducted (Acts 6:1-6)
- Discipline was carried out (Matt. 18:15-20; I Cor. 5; Gal. 6:1)
- Elders will be held accountable for members (Heb. 13:17)
- There was an awareness of who was a church member (Rom. 16:1-16)
The issue of membership cannot be overstated. The members do the primary work of the church. Many see the primary work of the church as SUNDAY, but that is not true. The primary work of the church is YOU, US, living our lives. Our primary mission is to be out in the world.
When anyone enters into relationship with God by grace from, and faith in, the person and work of Jesus Christ, they are entering into two covenants. The first is to journey with God for the rest of their lives and love Him fully. The second is to journey with His other children in the community of the local church. Your membership in a church is an official recognition of this, and the purposes of the Element Christian Church Membership Covenant are:
1) To join the Spirit in forming authentic community that reflects the relationship between the Father, Son & Spirit
2) To clarify the ongoing blessings & responsibilities of each member.
3) To encourage consistency, accountability and loving unity within the church family.
4) To accomplish God’s call for the Element church family.
Element Christian Church holds the issue of church membership in high regard. Members function as the primary missionaries for the church to the culture. Members live, eat and breathe the climate of the Santa Maria Valley every day, placed in the culture to emulate Christ. We are called corporately as ambassadors of Christ to share and live the Gospel to those God—in His sovereignty— has placed in our lives. (Romans 12: 1-8)
The global church has a blemished track record of allowing members to become observers while an exhausted, burnt out pastor and staff do all the work in the church and the community around it. Element is committed to creating a model that reflects God’s heart for His children. Membership is not merely a status symbol or social club, a member who enters into a covenant with their local church is called to a higher degree of responsibility. (I Peter 4: 8-10)
To transition from a regular attender to an official member of Element Christian Church, we have three requirements.
1) That you profess faith in Jesus Christ.
2) That you have been baptized (this doesn't have to have taken place at Element). We believe that one of the first acts of a Christian should be baptism. The model was followed in the early church and by the apostles. If you have question about baptism please see our baptism page.
3) That you attend our Gospel Class. The Gospel Class is an eight week course that goes over the fundamentals of the Christian faith. We want you to understand Elements position on theological issues; this class will let you know if Element is a good fit for your family (or it might let you know that you are a crazy heretic - that was a joke, sort of). If you miss a class you can listen to it online at our gospel class page.