East Side Church
(Baptist - Disciples of Christ)
201 Spruce Ave.
Sharon, PA 16146
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August 13, 2017
Commitment to East Side Church

Acts 2:41-47

Intro: Series on being a member of East Side Church. Intro for some, good reminder for others. Membership involves four commitments (circles.) First is our commitment to Christ: Before becoming a member of East Side, make sure you have committed your life to Jesus. Today, discussing what commitment to East Side looks like.

How Did East Side Church Get Started? The Central Christian Church began in 1828, and the East Side Baptist Church began in 1913. In the 1940s, the Disciples of Christ and the American Baptists on the state/national levels were exploring merger. Beginning in 1945, there were several conversations between East Side and Central Christian about the possibility of merging. For a year (1947-1948), the two churches worshiped together and began uniting their governing boards into one. Unfortunately, the merger wasn't success-ful, as a group from Central Christian voted to discontinue the attempt. Many members of Central Christian returned to their home church, although 150 former members of Central remained w/East Side. The Rev. E.C. Rowland, Jr. resigned as pastor of Central Christian and was subsequently called to be the pastor of East Side. On May 2, 1948, the East Side Baptists and the remaining Central Christian members voted to promote a unified program under the name, The East Side Church (Baptists-Disciples of Christ.)

What Does Commitment to East Side Church Look Like?

Participating! (Read Acts 2:42.) When a person becomes a member, it is expected that they will devote their time to the church's ministry. We expect you to make worshiping with us a priority. Through worship, we encounter God, listen to His Word, encourage each other, and grow in our faith. There are other opportunities for fellowship and ministry that we encourage you to consider: Sunday School, our Women's Small Group and Wednesday night Bible Study, and some special events. Members also have the right and responsibility to vote on issues that affect our church. We desire for you to participate in the activities of our church, so that we might all grow spiritually! When you realize a church is helping you grow in your relationship with Jesus, you should consider becoming a member of that church.

Serving! (Read Romans 12:4-8.) We look forward to helping you discover what talents and gifts you have that only you can share with our church! God has made only one of you! Our church will offer opportunities for members to discover and better develop their spiritual gifts. There are many ways in which you can serve the Lord in our congregation. As a member, you have the opportunity to serve on church committees set up to help our church carry out its mission to reach our community for Jesus. You may be asked to serve the Lord as an elder, deacon, trustee, committee member or Sunday School teacher. While we ask you to prayerfully consider each request, we don't want you to feel compelled to serve in any area of ministry that doesn't fit your gifting or ability. When you realize a church is helping you grow in your relationship with Jesus, you should consider becoming a member of that church.

Giving! (Read II Corinthians 9:6-8.) One part of committing to a local church is to give money to support the ministry, and to expect the leaders to provide clear accounts of how that money is used. The OT encourages giving a tenth of what you earn back to God, (see Genesis 14:18-21.) It's a good exercise of faith to give this amount back to the Lord's work. However, nowhere in the NT is the tithe explicitly commanded for the Church. Instead, there are repeated calls for Christians to give generously to the Lord's work. I would encourage you to prayerfully consider what amount or what percentage the Lord is leading you to give. Above all, remember that the Lord loves a cheerful giver, so if you are grumbling about the money you're giving to the church, you've missed the point! When you realize a church is helping you grow in your relationship with Jesus, you should consider becoming a member of that church.

Obeying! (Read Hebrews 13:17.) Important part of becoming a church member is that you are agreeing to live as a Christian. This includes submitting to the spiritual authority of the church's leaders. Church discipline has never been a popular idea! But God sets pastors, elders in authority for the church's good. Leaders are accountable before God to safeguard your spiritual walk. If a member of East Side is sinning publically, it's the responsibility of the church leaders to come alongside that person as privately as possible, confront them about their sin and encourage them to repent. (Read II Timothy 2:24-26.) When you realize a church is helping you grow in your relationship with Jesus, you should consider becoming a member of that church.

What is Required to Maintain Membership? The above activities! According to our church's constitution and bylaws, regular attendance at church and/or regular giving to our church enables you to maintain status as an active member. If a member fails to meet these minimum requirements, there is a process where a person can be removed from the membership role. However, I must stress: There is a radical difference between doing the minimum to maintain membership and joyfully living and serving alongside Jesus' followers in a local church! What are we aiming for at East Side? As a church, if we focus on helping people grow in their relationships with Jesus, then they will become members. But if we focus on people, ourselves included, meeting the minimum requirements of membership, we'll fail to help people grow in their relationship w/Jesus, and membership will shrink.

Application: When you realize a church is helping you grow in your relationship with Jesus, you should consider becoming a member of that church. "What if I would like to become a member?" Ask me about it! We'll talk about next steps!

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© East Side Church, 2013