Thank you for your interest in learning how to become a member of Hickory Road Baptist Church. Before sharing details of how to join our fellowship, it might prove beneficial to consider some REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN A HEALTHY LOCAL CHURCH. While the New Testament almost always uses the word "church" in the context of the local church, the Bible does not command us to join a local church. So, we took some time to consider some worthwhile reasons why one should join a healthy local church. We define healthy in terms of a Biblically based, Gospel centered church. The reasons below are not exhaustive, but we do hope that you will find them helpful.
- A reason to join a healthy local church is because the Gospel is made clear. The Gospel is not only defined through preaching and teaching but is made visible by Christians who gather to form congregations of believers. Though our backgrounds may vary, it is the Gospel that unites us.
- A reason to join a local church is to fellowship with other believers. In becoming members, we align ourselves with other believers who purpose to encourage, exhort, and edify one another in their Christian walk. Expressed differently, by entering into church membership we commit ourselves to "doing life together" with others who profess to be brothers and sisters in Christ. It is through our love for one another that others recognize that we are Christ's disciples.
- A reason to join a healthy local church is to align yourself with like-minded believers who have submitted to God' governing authority for believers. Let's face it; submission has become a loaded word full of negative connotations in our culture. But, when we think of the Lord Jesus Christ, one of the most beautiful characteristics He exemplified was a willful submission to the Father. God's plan and pattern for His people involves them submitting to those in spiritual leadership. Spiritual leaders in the local church watch over and care for the people of God.
The authority of the local church is based upon the Word of God and is not meant to be harsh or oppressive. On the contrary, the authority of the local church is meant to be parental, building its members up and working for their benefit. If you are not a member of a local church, it is very likely that the spiritual leaders may not know your name. As a result, they may not pray for you regularly or even know whether or not you are a Christian.