Membership and Baptism
In a big city, it can be hard to experience authentic, lasting connections. People come and go all the time; our relationships can feel tenuous. In a big church, it’s easy to feel like a face in a crowd. We might start to wonder if our presence really matters. We are itching to be part of something more, something lasting.
The Bible talks about the church as a family, one that is tied together by our shared faith and mission. Church membership is a mutual commitment to one another and to the good work God is doing in and through a particular body of believers. This commitment is person-to-person, but it also exists between a church organization and its members.
Membership creates a deep, lasting connection that energizes and equips the church to continue its good work in this city. We’d love for you to join us as we continue to put down lasting roots on the Upper East Side.
We are delighted about your interest in becoming a member of Redeemer East Side. This five-step process is designed to help us get to know one another.
Step 1: Attend Intro to Spiritual Formation
Our everyday habits shape us. These practices form our spirits in a particular direction. The gospel can make its way deeper into our hearts and transform our lives through our daily habits, our community, and our callings. Learn how when you join us for this ninety-minute seminar. Register here.
Step 2: Attend Intro to Redeemer East Side
We are excited to get to know you, but we know it can be awkward when the relationship is new. So, we’ll go first! In this seminar, learn about the mission and vision of Redeemer East Side, and the ways in which you can join in the vision of our church and the mission of God. Register here.
Step 3: Complete a Membership Application
We’d love to know more about you, too! Answer a few questions about your involvement at Redeemer and your faith journey. The membership vows are listed with space to mention any questions or concerns you have. If you have anything specific you’d like to discuss with a Redeemer leader, there’s a spot for you to talk about that, as well. The application is available here.
Step 4: Participate in a Membership Interview
Information is one thing, but getting to know each other is better in conversation. Meet with an elder and deacon to talk through your application and what it means to be a member of Redeemer East Side. You’ll also ask each other questions and clarify anything that might have been confusing about the application. A member of staff will reach out to schedule your interview when you complete the first three steps.
Step 5: Say your Membership Vows
This moment of public commitment defines the relationship. If the interview process determines that membership is a good fit for you and the church, your name will be presented to the rest of the elders for approval. If approved, you and anyone else going through the process will have the opportunity to publicly take your membership vows. If you haven’t been baptized, you’ll also be baptized at this service. You can read more about baptism and its connection with membership below.
As you learn about Redeemer and we connect with you, feel free to email any questions that might come up to [email protected]
Membership ties us to one body of believers. But we are also part of a bigger family—the global church and its foundational belief in Jesus as our Savior. Baptism is a public declaration of belonging to Jesus and to the universal church. When we are sprinkled with the waters of baptism, we are acknowledging our need for Jesus and stepping into the new life and the new family he has promised us.
Here at Redeemer East Side, we are happy to baptize infants of church members. If you have questions about our views on infant baptism, we’ve put together a document with details on our position. To register your child for baptism, please email [email protected] and make sure to include your child’s full name and date of birth.
Older children who have made a personal commitment to Jesus or are interested in understanding more about the Christian faith and would like to be baptized, please consider the Youth Communicant class. Email [email protected] for more information.
If you haven’t been baptized and are going through the membership process, be sure to mention it in your membership interview. That way, we can celebrate and make sure you are baptized on the same Sunday that you take your membership vows.
If you have questions, take a look at our FAQ below. Want to ask your questions to a human being? We’d love to hear from you. Send us an email to [email protected].
Do I have to do the membership steps in order?
- No, you can participate in the two classes—Intro to Spiritual Formation and Intro to Redeemer East Side—in any order and begin the membership application at any time. However, you must complete the two classes and membership application before meeting with an elder and deacon of the church for your membership interview and subsequent membership vows.
Who reads my membership application?
- The pastoral point person (Caitlin Kemp) as well as the elder and deacon that will meet with you for a membership interview.
What if I’ve already been through the membership process at another PCA church?
- Though all PCA churches are bound by common beliefs, particularly the Westminster Confession of Faith, our practices of these common beliefs could differ. Therefore, we would like you to get to know our expression of these beliefs guided by Redeemer East Side’s mission, vision, and values and determine together if RES is the church home for you.
What if I’m married? Do my spouse and I interview together? What if my spouse is not Christian?
- If you are married we invite you and your spouse to interview together with both a male and female leader in the church. If your spouse does not identify as Christian, it does not preclude you from membership. However, we would like to have a conversation to discuss how to best support you, your spouse, and your marriage before proceeding with membership.
Why does the session have to approve me for membership?
- The ministry of Redeemer East Side is overseen by elders who have been elected by the members of the church and are collectively called the session. Their oversight role includes the responsibility of shepherding the church’s spiritual life which includes approving and receiving members into the communion of the Church. As shepherds and overseers, they keep watch over the flock on behalf of the great Shepherd and Overseer of the sheep, the Lord Jesus.
What is the difference between being a member and a regular attendee?
- Unlike regular attendees, members have the responsibility of regularly voting on matters that guide the direction and action of the church. Perhaps more so, members also have the privilege of strengthening our church by vowed commitment. While both regular attendees and members enjoy the benefit of spiritual formation, the resources of diaconate and pastoral care are more readily and intentionally available to members.
What are the membership vows?
- Do you acknowledge yourself to be a sinner in the sight of God, justly deserving his displeasure and without hope except through his sovereign mercy?
- Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and savior of sinners, and do you receive and rest upon him alone for salvation as he is offered in the gospel?
- Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as becomes a follower of Christ?
- Do you promise to support the church in its worship and work to the best of your ability?
- Do you submit yourself to the government and discipline of the church and promise to study its purity and peace?
Do I have to be a member to be in a community group?
- No, you do not have to be a church member to participate in community groups, classes, or other church offerings but it is strongly encouraged.
Why do I need to become a member when I get baptized?
- Baptism is a sign and seal of the covenant of grace made by God through Jesus and extended to us, and it signifies that we are a part of Christ’s body, the universal church. One way to think of baptism is that it’s the final step in a church membership process and a manifestation of living out God’s covenant promises with mutually-affirming members in a local expression of God’s family.