Membership and Baptism
Membership and Baptism
At First Presbyterian Church, membership is understood as a covenant: the individual’s covenant with fellow members as a committed part of this church body; the body’s covenant commitment to each individual member, and God’s gracious covenant with all of us together as his people in Christ. A covenant is a mutually committed relationship that exists for a greater purpose. Covenant members of First Pres understand that our fellowship exists not for its own sake, but for the world beyond the church walls. Together, we seek to be used by God for his purposes in every sphere of life.
We joyfully invite all who feel called to this commitment, to join our membership through a covenant of membership retreat. Retreats happen two or three times annually depending on demand. To find out about the next upcoming covenant retreat, please contact pastor Jeremy Sanderson.
Membership in a particular church body is secondary to membership in the one Body of Christ, the Church Universal. Membership in that body is indicated by water baptism. Those seeking to join First Pres who have not been baptized, or those otherwise interested in baptism for themselves or their children, can contact pastor Jeremy Sanderson to learn more about baptism at First Pres.
What is Baptism?
Baptism is a sacrament of the church – an act that conveys in a visual, tangible way, the real but invisible grace of God. We baptize individuals – infants, children and adults of any age – as an act of obedience to Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit…” (Matt. 28:19). Through baptism, a person’s old identity – the “self” that lives in bondage to sin and death – is washed away. The “new self” of the baptized believer belongs to God through Christ Jesus, and is marked forever as his own with the seal of God’s Holy Spirit.
Whether you are a parent seeking to baptize an infant or young child, or an individual considering taking the step of baptism for yourself, you are encouraged to speak further with one of our pastors or elders to prepare for this profound and significant step in the life of faith.
“As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:27-29).