If you feel led to become a member of the Realm of Agape Christian Church (RACC), please dedicate some time to prayerfully read the following information…

 

Why Is Church Membership So Important?

Ephesians 1:22-23 – “And He [God] put all things in subjection under His [Jesus] feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

Throughout the New Testament, God uses the picture of a physical body to help us understand the spiritual body of Christ – the church. When a person comes to salvation, they become part of the universal Church, the body of Christ. Beyond denominations, church buildings, theology, liturgy, and man-made traditions, the body of Christ is a spiritual entity. Jesus is the head, and every Christ-follower a member of His body.

Ephesians 2:11-16 – “Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh who are called ‘Uncircumcision’ by the so-called ‘Circumcision,’ which is performed in the flesh by human hands – remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”

The death of Christ on the cross reconciled us to God. There is no longer a wall of broken commands between us and God – by the blood of Jesus, that wall was removed, and we are now at peace with God. In reconciling both Jews and Gentiles to Himself, God formed a new body – a spiritual group of redeemed humans, united by the Spirit of God and led by the Head, Christ. If you are a Christ-follower, one who has been saved by the blood of Christ, you are part of that body.

Ephesians 2:19-22 – “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”

1 Peter 2:4-6 – “And coming to Him as a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture:(Romans 8:28; Isaiah 28:16) ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.’”

Here we have another beautiful picture of the body of Christ – a holy temple, or a building. We see Christ Himself as the cornerstone. A cornerstone is the first and most important stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. It is important because all other stones are set in reference to this stone. Just as a physical cornerstone ties the walls together at the corner, Jesus is the center reference point between the Old Testament (the Jewish law and the prophets) and the New Testament (the apostles). A church is not a true, biblical church, unless it centers in Jesus.

  • The church is a spiritual body, made up of individual members with Jesus as its head. Those members possess spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit that enable them to produce works of faith that advance the Kingdom of Christ. They work together in the local assembly to perform those works of faith.
  • The church is a spiritual building, made up of individual living stones, with Jesus as its cornerstone.

How does the universal church, the spiritual body of Christ, accomplish its purpose? The body of Christ is manifested in the local church body – the group of individuals meeting in community together in a specific location.

The members of the body are all important individuals, but they aren’t ecclesiastically special on their own. When they are pointed toward the Light, who is Christ, and they come together as a local church, a beautiful complete vision emerges. Every local body has its own personality and giftedness. But we are all parts of the universal whole – the complete vision called the Body of Christ.

It is in the local church body that the spiritual body of Christ becomes visible to a watching world.

What is the purpose of the church, and why is it important that every believer identify with a local body of Christ-followers? Just as a building cannot stand without each individual stone bearing its weight, and a body cannot function properly without each individual part performing its designed role, the divinely inspired idea called “the church” is contingent on believers being united to carry out God’s kingdom purposes. This happens both in spirit (the universal church of all believers everywhere) and in the practical realm (the local church).

Ephesians 4:11-16 – “And He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of people, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, that is, Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

This passage is a wonderful explanation of how the church functions. The goal of a believer is to grow up into maturity – into Christlikeness. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers are gifted by the Holy Spirit to carry out their ministry. The original twelve apostles were used by God to help established the New Testament church. Today, men and women are called and gifted to establish and equip one another in the local church.

We are given six specific results of a saint who is properly equipped.

– An equipped saint carries out the work of ministry or service.

– An equipped saint strives to attain unity of the faith.

– An equipped saint grows in their knowledge of Christ.

– An equipped saint is mature and Christ-like.

– An equipped saint is doctrinally stable.

– An equipped saint loves the members of the body.

The local church is where Christians can be fully furnished or equipped. Participation in a local church that is biblical in its teaching is vital for every believer. It is the only way we can discover what it truly means to be a complete Christ-follower.
(The above insights were retrieved and edited 12/31/22, by Pastor A. A. Jackson, from https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/why-is-church-membership-so-important.html)

 

Our Policy of Covenant Discipleship (New Membership) Candidacy

An official covenant agreement shall be open to all those who possess the following qualifications:

  1. A testimony to an experience of the “new birth.”
  2. Having been baptized in water by immersion.
  3. Evidence of a consistent Christian life (Romans 6:4; 8:1-4; 13:13,14; Ephesians 4:17-32; 5:1,2,15; 1 John 1:6,7).
  4. An indication of a willingness to contribute regularly to the financial support of the Church.
  5. Acceptance of the Statements of Purpose, Mission, Vision, and Christian Faith of the Realm of Agape Christian Church as follows:

Purpose Statement

RACC is an assembly of believers where true Christian love and discipleship abounds to promote the global advancement of God’s kingdom.

Mission Statement

To preach and teach the Gospel, serving in a family centered holistic style through church and parachurch ministry, and to promote biblically based worship experiences that cause spiritual deliverance and dedication to the will of God.

Vision Statement

To develop a multiethnic, multigenerational congregation that demonstrates the characteristics of mature disciples of Christ and God’s love through the power of the Holy Spirit, and to mobilize Christian educators that will facilitate the spiritual, educational, social, economic, and political advancement of God’s kingdom globally.

The Statement of Christian Faith for the Realm of Agape Christian Church, Inc.

  • We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
  • We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
  • We believe that, for the salvation of lost and sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
  • We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a holy and separated life in this present world.
  • We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost: they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
  • We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ who commanded us to love each other as He loved us, so that all people will know that we are His disciples.
  1. Having reached at least (18) years of age. Junior membership shall be granted to individuals meeting these requirements and being at least (16) years of age, however voting privileges shall not be given until the junior member reaches the age of (18).
  2. Having regularly attended services of, and supported, this assembly for a period of at least three consecutive months prior to the date of application for membership.
  3. Having regularly attended and completed the course work of our new membership classes.
  4. Agreement to being governed by the bylaws of the Church.
  5. Officially recommended for membership candidacy by the Church Board.
  6. Granted an officially sealed letter of acceptance from the Senior Pastor.

 

Our Policy of Official Covenant Recognition

Those individuals eligible for covenant discipleship with RACC shall complete a written application, which shall be turned in to the Senior Pastor/Administrator or the Church Board via the New Membership Liaison (Elder Guen Lopez). The Board shall have the right and authority to determine the eligibility and acceptability of all applicants for official covenant recognition by majority vote. Those approved for membership by the Church Board shall be received into the Church publicly at any of its regular services, and their names thereupon added to the Church discipleship roll. No applicant for discipleship shall be accepted within thirty days before an annual business meeting or within ten days before a special business meeting.
 
New Membership Candidates must also take time to complete a “Spiritual Gifts Test” questionnaire. This questionnaire facilitates the process of ministry placement, which is a blessing in helping you to become a “living stone, fitly joined together” with your brothers and sisters in Christ at RACC (as revealed in Ephesians 4:16 and 1 Peter 2:5, KJV).  You have the option of completing this test online at www.kodachrome.org/spiritgift (with any donation amount to that ministry) or by completing a printed copy in our Application for Membership. We will need your printed online questionnaire attached to your completed application.
 
 

Joining us Appropriately Matters,

but Leaving Us (and Other Ministries) Appropriately also Matters

(Accessed and Edited by Pastor A. A. Jackson 12/31/22, Joining and Leaving a Local Church Well; from fbchurch.org, by Dr. Dan Jarms teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church in Spokane, Washington.)
There are a few factors that will help someone leave well. One of the most common and poorest reasons we tend to hear people give for leaving is this… “We prayed about it and the Lord is moving us on.” This is most often times a cover for conflict avoidance. And who likes conflict? God’s word, and prayerful objective wise counsel—not your emotional feelings—is the only sure way to know how God is leading.
 

1. Be absolutely clear about why you are leaving.

There are some very good reasons to leave any local church. Perhaps there is an understanding of the Bible that conflicts with your understanding of the Bible. Or, maybe certain leaders are not biblically qualified. Employment changes and moving locations often require finding a new church. Ministry opportunities can be good reasons. Music styles, ministry offerings, programs, and congregational size are often cited as reasons. Be careful that these are not really just selfish ‘preferences’ disguised. Preferences have a place. But they should not be central.

2. Talk to elders/pastors or core members way before you think of leaving.

Find someone who will really listen to your concerns and situation. Present concerns to clarify you don’t merely have a misunderstanding. Make sure a silent withdrawal is not merely a fear of conflict. If it is a job change or a move to a new location get input on solid churches in the new area. Get wisdom.

3. Thank the people who have sacrificed and served for you.

You may be able to leave the relationships easily, but people have poured much time and energy into you. They may be hurt or sad that you are going. That is normal, but you should be careful not to deepen their sorrow unnecessarily.

4. Transfer to another healthy gospel-centered church.

The pastor and elders here want to make a hand off to another qualified church. In the New Testament elders would write letters of commendation when someone changed churches. That lets the new church know that the departure was healthy and the new person/people will be a blessing to their church.

5. Be ready for another thoughtful membership process.

If the church you start attending does not have a robust membership process, you should think twice about choosing that church. They could have more interest in what increases the number count on Sunday and the tithes they collect than for your soul. Only choose a church that is committed to truly shepherding you.