If you’re thinking about working and worshiping with us, you have the right, indeed, the obligation, to know where we stand as a congregation. You should seek a group of disciples of the Lord with whom you may worship and work (Acts 2:41-42; 9:26-28). But you must be careful not to become part of a group that disregards the doctrine of Christ (Ephesians 5:11).
Likewise, the congregation needs to know something about you before we can properly accept you into our fellowship (Acts 9:26-28; 2 Corinthians 3:1). So what should we expect of one another?
What to Expect of UsYou have the right to expect that we are simply a local group of Christians not affiliated with any denomination or sect (Acts 11:26; 1 Corinthians 1:2,10-13). As Christians, we must believe in the one true God revealed in the Bible (1 Corinthians 8:4), in the Bible as His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and in Jesus Christ as His Son (John 20:30-31).
You should expect us to submit to the authority of Jesus Christ in everything (Colossians 3:17). Thus, we must follow His divine pattern, the New Testament, in all aspects of our lives (2 Timothy 1:13).
You have the right to expect that each member of this congregation has come to Christ by believing He is the Son of God (Romans 5:1-2), repenting of his sins (Acts 3:19), confessing his faith in Christ (Romans 10:8-10), and being immersed in water for (in order to) the remission of his sins (Romans 6:3-4; Acts 2:38).
You ought to demand that we be serious about living godly lives (Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 5:19-25; 1 Peter 1:13-16) and that we withdraw from members who live in sin (1 Corinthians 5:1-5).
You should expect us to preach and teach the Word of God rather than human opinions (2 Timothy 4:1-2; 1 Peter 4:11).
You have the right to expect us to worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:19-24). Thus, our worship must consist of singing spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:18-19), praying (Acts 2:42), preaching and teaching the Bible (2 Timothy 4:1-2), taking the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7), and taking a collection on the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
Since each congregation must be independent and self governing under Christ (1 Peter 5:1-2), you should expect the congregation to be independent of any organizational ties to associations of congregations or organizations built by human authority. You ought to expect the men to take the leadership roles in the church (1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:11-12). The congregation should have its own, qualified elders to rule and shepherd and deacons to serve (Philippians 1:1; Acts 14:23; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 5:17; 1 Peter 5:1-2) or be working toward having them (Titus 1:5).
You should expect the congregation to be diligently at work (1 Corinthians 1:1-4). But, since the church is a spiritual relationship (Ephesians 1:3,22-23) and is more limited in what it is authorized to do than are its members individually (1 Timothy 5:16), you have the right to expect the congregation to limit its work to those spiritual activities in which the Lord directs it to engage: evangelism (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8), edification (building each other up spiritually, Ephesians 4:11-16), and benevolence toward needy Christians, an expression of fellowship in Christ (2 Corinthians 8:1-4).
You have the right to expect us to be united in faith and love (Ephesians 4:1-6), mutually working together and caring for one another (Romans 12:4-13; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Galatians 6:1-2).
What We Expect of YouWe have the right, indeed, obligation to be sure that those whom we accept into our fellowship are really disciples of Christ (Acts 9:26-28). Thus, if you want to share in the work and worship of this local church as a member, we expect you to have come to the Lord just as we have, to be living a righteous life (1 Corinthians 5:11), to be submissive to the authority of Christ (Colossians 3:17), and to be willing to do your part to help the congregation to be successful in glorifying the Lord (Ephesians 3:20-21) by helping to reach the lost, to edify one another, and to help needy members. We expect you to assemble faithfully with the church when we come together (Hebrews 10:24-25) and to show love and concern for all the members of the congregation (Romans 12:10,16).
ConclusionBy working and worshiping together as a congregation we help each other go to heaven. And that is really what being a Christian is all about. If you are a Christian and not a member of a faithful congregation, we invite you to talk to us about joining this congregation. If you are not a Christian, let us tell you why you ought to be one and how you can become one.