A Little Guide to Membership

words by Chris Bond

Membership is an expression of your commitment to the Hope Community Church family.

The Big Adventure

Membership is an expression of your commitment to the Hope Community Church family.

The Christian life begins when we decide to give our life to Jesus. This is something we each do individually. When we make this choice we are ‘born again’ into a world-wide family called the Church. There are smaller gatherings of Christians also called churches all over the place (about 500 in greater Bristol).

The purpose of living the Jesus life as part of a church is to support and encourage each other in three main ways: Up, In & Out.

Up – we meet together to look up to God, to worship Him and grow in our relationship with Him.

In – we meet to learn together and to love and encourage each other.

Out – As the picture on the front shows we join together in Jesus’ mission to show the world the amazing life there is in knowing Jesus.

Membership at Hope expresses our commitment to Jesus Christ, the vision of the church and the church family in the giving of our time, resources, money and gifts.

As members we are committed to living in accountable relationships, to love, support and encourage one another in our pursuit of a closer relationship with Jesus.

Hope is a Congregational Church

There are lots of different types of churches such as the Church of England (Anglican), Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Vineyard, Catholic. Hope is a ‘Congregational’ Church and we explain that more below. Most importantly we are a church who love and follow Jesus Christ.

Our Congregational roots have some impact on the way that we ‘do church.’ The Congregational church began in Reformation times in the 17th Century. Congregationalists found that they were not able to follow Jesus freely within the existing churches at the time because these had become overly controlling and politically corrupt. They started new churches that aimed to simply live as Jesus taught and continue His mission on earth. Today we are part of the Congregational Federation – a group of 294 Congregational churches across the UK. We also love to work together with other types of church across the city, country and world.

Congregationalism emphasises ‘every member ministry.’ God has given us all gifts and we are all to be actively involved in using these as part of being church. Church Members play an important role in the life of Hope. Members are encouraged to share with the pastors and elders what they sense God is saying to the church. In Church Business Meetings, members discern together how the Holy Spirit is leading us. Only Members are allowed to vote in these meetings.

What Membership Involves

Commitment to Jesus: One of the ways we express this is through baptism. You need to be baptised to become a member. See our ‘Little Guide to Baptism’ for more details.

Accountable Relationships: We are open and honest with others about our life and journey with Jesus, asking for and offering help and encouragement.

Commitment to Hope’s vision: We have areas that we particularly focus on at Hope such as prayer, children, people on the margins and community.

Giving time, resources, money & gifts: Hope is financially supported by the tithes and gifts of Members and people who attend Hope. We encourage all members to consider tithing (but this is not a requirement!) See our ‘Little Guide to Money’ for more details. We also all voluntarily give our time in various ways. 

How to Become a Member

This is how you do it:

  1. Become established and known within Hope over a period of time.
  2. Attend a Membership Meeting to understand what membership involves.
  3. Ask the Hope office to let the elders know you would like to become a member. This will then be brought to the elders at one of their regular meetings.
  4. Have your name presented at a Church Business Meeting.
  5. Be welcomed as a member during a Sunday service.