“Membership” refers to our identity with and support of our particular congregation (the church of Christ in Kent). We believe that membership involves a family relationship, as well as a partnership between our congregation’s members and shepherds. “Shepherds” (or elders; overseers) are men who are appointed by the congregation to lead, guide, feed (spiritually), manage, exhort, admonish (as needed), and even discipline (if necessary) those of our membership. Just as shepherds take care of their own flock of sheep, so church shepherds oversee the “flock” of that congregation which has appointed them (Acts 20:28, 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, 1 Peter 5:1-4). Regarding membership, we believe and maintain that:
- Every member adds character, value, and dimension to the group (Romans 12:4-8, 1 Corinthians 12:14-27).
- Members must be and are expected to walk as Christians in good standing with God (Ephesians 4:1-3).
- Membership in Christ’s church is determined by Christ; membership in the church of Christ in Kent is determined by Christ and this church’s shepherds (elders).
- Membership in the church of Christ in Kent:
- Is important, spiritually healthy, and mutually beneficial.
- Defines who we are and what we do together (collectively) in the name of Christ.
- Must be meaningful to and honored by not only some members, but every member.
- Is a privilege, and with privilege comes responsibility (1 Corinthians 10:32-33, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-14).
- Requires the member’s commitment to the group’s shepherds, as well as their commitment to you (Hebrews 13:17).
What Members Should Expect of the Shepherds:
What the Shepherds Expect of Members:
Spiritual leadership—for the group and individual members—as a God-given charge (1 Peter 5:1-3)
Your presence whenever this congregation is called to assemble, to the best of your ability (Heb. 10:24-25)
Men who seek the best interest of the group, according to the NT pattern (Acts 20:28, 1 Cor. 14:40)
Your preparedness to participate in and serve this congregation, according to your ability (1 Peter 4:11)
Men who care about your spiritual well-being, and will provide you with wise counsel (Hebrews 13:7)
Your personal support of the teaching, preaching, and evangelism of this group (Romans 15:5-6)
Men who nurture a spiritual family that honors Christ in all that we do, whether we are together or apart
Your personal commitment in fulfilling the collective plan (stated above) of this group (Philippians 1:27)
Men who seek out any straying members and restore those who are caught up in sin (Galatians 6:1-2)
Your financial support of this group’s work and its preacher(s) (2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
Sound, biblical teaching of God’s word from your preacher(s) and class teachers (1 Timothy 4:6)
Your submission to the shepherds in the form of: respect; cooperation; visitations (with you); prayers
Lessons and classes designed to edify you, motivate you, and expound upon God’s word
Be responsible and keep the shepherds informed of situations that affect your spiritual well-being