The Basic Membership Requirement - Membership is granted to those who claim, and appear to be, converted Christians and who desire to become members of Providence in accordance with the process and membership vows outlined below. The Session (the ruling body of the congregation, which is made up of the pastor(s) and the ruling elders) decides on membership admissions on the ground of a credible profession of faith, which would be a profession 1) which seems to be based on adequate understanding of the basics of the Gospel, 2) which appears sincere, and 3) which does not seem to be contradicted by the person?s daily life. It is not required that candidates for membership agree with every doctrine of our church or subscribe to our doctrinal standards. For instance, it is not required that those who may have previously held Baptist views believe in infant baptism or believe that sprinkling or pouring is the proper mode of baptism.
Your Decision - You may be encouraged to join, but you should not be pushed to become members at Providence. At the same time, it is important to be a part of the visible Church of Jesus Christ. When you decide you are ready to become a member at Providence, please speak to the pastor or one of the elders. Youth desiring to become communicant members should do so when they have come to the place where they themselves believe that God has done a supernatural converting work in their hearts and that they trust in Christ alone for their salvation.
Membership Class - Attendance of a membership class (or Inquirers? Class) is normally required of all new members not transferring from another OPC congregation. Transfers from OPC congregations are, nevertheless, encouraged to attend a membership class as soon as possible. The pastor leads the class. Classes are scheduled when it appears there is need/interest.
Meeting with the Pastor - An informal meeting with the pastor normally precedes the required meeting with the Session. This may occur either before or after the membership class.
Meeting with the Session - Membership candidates, individually or with their families, meet with the Session, usually after a Sunday morning or evening worship service. The Session will want to hear about their religious background and their coming to Christ as well as about their continuing Christian growth. The elders treat this as an enjoyable time of getting to know what God has done in the candidate?s life. The meeting is informal in tone. Candidates transferring from another OPC congregation become members upon the Session?s reception of their profession and the reception of a letter of transfer from the previous OPC congregation. Others become members upon the Session?s reception of their profession and the reception of any letter of transfer offered and their taking of the membership vows (below) along with their baptism (if not previously baptized) at a regular worship service.
Membership Vows - New members not transferring from another OPC congregation take the following membership vows in their meeting with the Session and then again in the presence of the congregation at a regular worship service.
1. Do you believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, to be the Word of God, and its doctrine of salvation to be the perfect and only true doctrine of salvation?
2. Do you believe in one living and true God, in whom eternally there are three distinct persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—who are the same in being and equal in power and glory, and that Jesus Christ is God the Son, come in the flesh?
3. Do you confess that because of your sinfulness you abhor and humble yourself before God, that you repent of your sin, and that you trust for salvation not in yourself but in Jesus Christ alone?
4. Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your sovereign Lord, and do you promise that, in reliance on the grace of God, you will serve him with all that is in you, forsake the world, resist the devil, put to death your sinful deeds and desires, and lead a godly life?
5. Do you promise to participate faithfully in this church's worship and service, to submit in the Lord to its government, and to heed its discipline, even in case you should be found delinquent in doctrine or life?