Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
— Hebrews 10:23-25
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
— Acts 2:42
Three Kinds of Worshipers at Walnut Hill
People attend Walnut Hill for a variety of reasons. For some it’s the music. For others it’s the preaching, the children’s programming, or a sense of the Spirit’s presence in His people. We are grateful that so many feel led to worship with us. We also recognize that the variety of people attending our services represent a great diversity of commitment to the church. In general, there are three types of people that attend Walnut Hill—visitors, regular attenders, and members.
Visitors may be weekend vacationers, or they may be people who attend infrequently throughout the year. It is important to us that visitors feel welcome to come! We feel privileged to minister to them even though they are not a part of the regular ebb and flow of the life of the church. It’s our hope that visitors are connected with a home church or will eventually become regular attenders of a local church (perhaps even Walnut Hill!).
Regular attenders understand the importance of weekly church attendance and make it a point to attend with great frequency. Even when they cannot attend on a Sunday morning, they are involved in the various ministries of the church and continue to seek regular fellowship (for instance, through a small group). Some may only attend Sunday morning worship services, but many become involved in one or more of the various programs of the church.
And finally, Walnut Hill has members. What’s the difference between regular attenders and members? In a word, commitment. It’s a bit like the difference between dating and marriage. Both may have a great sense of allegiance and intimacy, and yet marriage carries with it a simple but profound declaration of commitment to build and grow that relationship. In becoming a Christian, people declare their commitment to Jesus Christ. In becoming a church member, people declare their commitment to other Christians (His body). Together we can accomplish the mission He’s given us!
What Kind of Commitment am I Making?
At Walnut Hill, membership refers to a “covenantal” joining with other Christians for the sake of His mission and honor. There are a number of commitments that are declared through becoming a member…
- Members formally declare their personal commitment to follow Jesus Christ, by faith, as their Lord and Savior.
- Members make (or give testimony of having made) a public declaration of their faith in Christ through believer’s baptism.
- Members declare their foundational doctrinal union with Walnut Hill through affirmation of the Church’s statement of faith.
- Members declare their commitment to sincerely living out their faith through affirmation of the Church’s statements of covenant.
- Members thus covenanting with the Church are committing to be an active part of His body, participating fully in the life of the Church and using their God-given gifts for the betterment of others.
What’s the Process for Becoming a Member?
- Regular Attendance: First of all, it’s a good idea to start with attending regularly to get a feel for Walnut Hill’s services and sense of community. Six months of regular attendance might be a nice benchmark to get a good sense of compatibility and unity of mission.
- Membership-Information Meeting: Once you have sensed the Lord’s direction in moving toward membership, schedule an appointment to meet a pastor. During this interactive time, he will listen to your testimony of faith and ensure that you are familiar with the foundations of who we are as a church. This is a great time to ask questions about the church as well. Please ask!
- Membership Interview: If after this meeting you feel confirmed in your decision to become a member, contact the church office and request a member interview. This meeting with a pastor and two elders is designed to give you an opportunity to share your testimony of faith and to ensure your understanding of, and commitment to, the church.
- Congregational Affirmation: Based upon the Elder Board’s recommendation for your membership, the congregation will formally vote you into membership at the next quarterly business meeting.