Membership- Choosing To Belong

You are members of God's very own family... and you belong  in God's household with every other Christian.

Ephesians 2:19

In Christ we who are many form one Body, and each member  belongs to all the others.  

Romans 12:5

FInd Connection

Did you know there were 6 key indicators that (in general) every powerful man/woman of faith shares? You will find all 6 sprinkled throughout this website (and the Bible ;0)  and connection or fellowship is one of them.

Wonder what fellowship even is? Have you watched the Lord Of The Rings? Remember what the first one was called? The Fellowship Of The Ring. Their fellowship was more than just a 5 minute chat before or after weekend church services.

Ours should be too. You were created for connection and deep spiritual fellowship with others who are on the same journey you are on- just like Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn and the rest. You cannot walk in the footsteps of Jesus without sharing the path with others and choosing to belong to them and choosing to allow them to belong to you.

It's just not possible.

So what does that have to do with "membership"? Well not much, really. At least not in the way we generally think of it in modern Americanized religion. When we look through the Bible we don't see complex membership processes or contracts. What we see are devoted followers of Jesus choosing to devote themselves to the others in their community who have also devoted their lives to following Jesus. It made for some odd groups. The Romans couldn't figure the early church out. They let just anyone join- slaves, women, the poor.

What about churches that have "official" membership practices? God bless them. We always say we do church different at Riverside- not better, just different. This is one of those ways we do church different. It's not the only way to do church in 21st century America. It's probably not even the best way to do church in 21st century America.

But it is the way we believe Jesus has tasked us with doing church in 21st century America.

So then how does one choose to belong at Riverside? By choosing to belong. By getting involved in a group, choosing to work alongside others in service to your community and by making it a point to walk with others at Riverside who are on the same journey as you are.

Sometimes it's not easy. We know that finding your place isn't always a snap. Sometimes you have to just keep trying and trying until you do find your place. Sometimes the problem may be that Riverside isn't for you (which isn't to say we won't accept you but that Jesus has another church community in mind for you).

Sometimes you'll find your place at Riverside and this will be exactly the place you are meant to be- for a season. But the day may come when Jesus will be ready to move you to another church community. Why would He do that? Maybe because there just aren't that many people who have devoted their lives to Him in such a way that when He says "go" we go. And as a general moves his/her troops around a field of battle sometimes Jesus has to move His followers from place to place. So if the day ever comes when Jesus calls you to move on to another place we will shed a tear and wish you well but we will never pressure you or try to guilt you into staying.

If you're having trouble finding your place at Riverside message Pastor Ed and he'll do his best to work through it with you.

So how do i join?

How do I become a member?  You can’t.  At least we can’t make you one.  The Bible says that God adds people to His church… not us.  So we don’t feel up to the job of telling God who’s in and who’s out of His church.

Consequently we don’t have “membership” qualifications.  At Riverside we welcome anyone who has a desire to learn more about Jesus and what following Him might look like in their lives.  You don’t have to think like us.  You don’t have to look like us.  You don’t have to talk like us or adopt our way of believing (now when it comes to teaching our children and leading ministries we have some requirements for belief mostly revolving around Jesus but other than that we're pretty flexible. It may be an exaggeration but we'd let Satan come to church at Riverside if he wanted to learn more about Jesus- we wouldn't let him teach the children but we'd let him come and sit quietly ;0)

Basically all we ask from folks who want to join the journey we are on is that you learn to practice our most closely held catchphrase:  

Everybody’s Welcome ~ Nobody’s Perfect ~ Anything’s Possible.  

It’s just another way we do church “different”.

Be Baptised

There are two ritual that Jesus participated in. He told His disciples to keep observing them and now for 2,000 years His devoted followers have been participating in.

One is communion (we do that every weekend at Riverside) and the other is baptism. Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River. He told His followers to baptize new disciples and now for 2,000 years the church has been doing just that.

Are there disagreements about when to baptize, how to baptize and why to baptize? Sure. Put a large enough group of people together and even something as simple as baptism can become convoluted. We have our way of doing baptism at Riverside and every other church has their own way of doing baptism.

But we all baptize. Why? There are lots of reasons but in the end the simplest reason is, Jesus asked us to.

So we do.

Want to get baptized? Message Pastor Ed and ask him for more info.