Membership Process

The Membership Class is designed to help you understand Pilgrim Community before making that commitment.

Here you will learn about the history, vision, beliefs, and identity of our church and you will also have the opportunity to dialogue with our elders in the course of the lessons.

Inquirers as well as potential members and adherents are all welcome to join our Membership Class. This is a place to explore what it means to be part of Pilgrim Community. Whether you are an adherent wishing to be registered with Pilgrim Community, a new believer wanting to be baptized, an informal member who has come of age and would like to now be formally part of the church, or a transferee from another church, this class is the first step toward joining our church family.

Those who decide to pursue formal membership or become adherents at the end of the class will be given a short list of readings as well as a form to aid in the writing of a brief summary of personal faith. If you are transferring membership from another church, you should inform your previous church of your intentions to join Pilgrim. Under normal circumstances, you should also secure a release letter from them stating that (1) you are a member in good standing and not under church discipline, and (2) that they are releasing you into Pilgrim Community’s spiritual care.

Schedule to meet with an elder/pastor of the church. After the meeting, if you are recommended for membership, an elder will submit your name to the monthly Session meeting for approval. Please note that regular attendance at Pilgrim for the past three months (at least) is an important consideration for approval of membership.

Take your membership vows at a worship service. If you have not been baptized before, your baptism will be scheduled for the same service.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens in Membership Class?

The Membership Class is designed to help you understand Pilgrim Community before making that commitment. Here you will learn about the history, vision, beliefs, and identity of our church and you will also have the opportunity to dialogue with our elders in the course of the lessons. At the end, if you decide to pursue membership, you will be asked to complete some short readings as well as to provide a brief summary of your faith. There is but one major requirement for joining the church, which is to demonstrate an understanding and acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Why is Membership necessary?

Committing to be part of a local church community is a most natural and necessary undertaking for all conscientious Christians. First, it is natural because the Bible always speaks of redemption in the sense of Jesus saving sinners into a new people or community (i.e. the church). In his letters Paul often used the imagery of the human body to speak of the church as such a community. Christ is our head and we are united to Him in His body. As such, we are members of the body and members of each other. Second, it is necessary because the Bible repeatedly requires Christians to flesh out their faith through the principle of one another-ness in the context of a local church community (e.g. love one another, serve one another, forgive one another, encourage one another, bear with one another, etc.) Church membership is necessary because we all need a place where we can love and serve others and where others can likewise love and serve us.

What does Membership entail?

Church membership entails privileges as well as responsibilities. Members of Pilgrim Community Church can expect to receive Christ-centered teaching and preaching from the Bible, full participation in the Sacraments of the church, the shepherding and pastoral care of the elders, the service of the deacons, and the nurturing support of fellow Christians. In turn, members are expected to involve themselves in the life, worship, and mission of the church. Members are to love and serve the church as well as their fellow believers in every way that they are enabled by the Holy Spirit.

Who may attend Membership Classes?

These classes will be open for everyone who wants to learn about Membership at Pilgrim Community but required for those who would wish to elect to become formal/communicant members or adherents.

Who is eligible for Membership?

Baptized believers (or those wishing to be baptized) who have been regularly attending Pilgrim Community for three months may apply for membership.

Do I automatically become a Formal Member by attending these Membership Classes?

Although successfully attending all four sessions in the membership classes is a requirement for applying to become a formal member, this alone does not equate with membership. There are other requirements for formal membership (e.g. affirming the Westminster Shorter Catechism, mentioned above; some short readings; a written credo; possible interview) which will be tackled in more detail on our first session.

I was formerly the member of another church but have requested my membership to be transferred to Pilgrim Community, do I still have to undergo the same process?

Just so we can ensure that we are all on the same in our church, we are requiring everyone who wishes to be a member to attend the classes and to undergo the same process.

Why should I bother to become a member, with all the requirements involved? I'm already baptized and can partake of the Lord's Supper, can't I just remain a regular attendee?

By definition, a baptized Christian is a member of a local church. To opt  to just remain a “regular attendee” at a church that one is not a member or adherent of  is in effect to say that one wants all the benefits of Christ and His Body but not have to be bound to Him or His Church in any meaningful way. (e.g. submit to the discipline and direction of the Church). It is, to be honest, a very selfish position to take and one that I cannot see to be compatible with the teachings of Scripture. Quite frankly, my opion is that it is sinful. If this is you, please know that you will neither be forced to become a member, nor will you be asked to stop coming to Pilgrim Community. But, by openly refusing to become a member of a local church, you are also reliquishing any pastoral care and direction that the Elders of the church may extend to members.

Members or Adherents

Communicant and Formal Members are baptized believers (13 and above) who regard Pilgrim Community Church as their home church and are part of the life and ministry of our community of faith. They are welcomed to partake of the Lord’s Supper and they also have the right of the vote; also, Biblically qualified men may be eligible to hold office as Deacons or Elders of the church. A requirement for formal membership is the affirmation of what the Church teaches and believes about the Gospel as well as the nature and mission of the Church (this includes our view of the sacraments). In short, members are required to affirm the system of doctrine summarized in the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Non-communicant and Informal Members are the baptized children (12 and under) of members and are part of the Pilgrim Community Church family by birthright. However, they are not to be admitted to the Lord’s table until they are able to evidence a credible profession of faith, first to their parents, and then to the elders (i.e. session) of the church. Upon successful examination, those who are confirmed in their faith would then be presented by the elders to the church as Communicant but as yet Informal Members. We do not wish to place a minimum age requirement for the confirmation of faith and pray that our children are able to evidence true faith and commune with us at the Lord’s table in the soonest possible time. To this end, parents and elders are to work closely together to help our little ones understand the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. In order to be regarded as formal members of the church (i.e. to have the power of the vote), these are to undergo, at the appropriate time, the same Membership Class that all communicant and formal members undergo. The same requirements for formal membership apply to them as well.

Adherents are baptized Christians (13 and above) who, while they presently regard Pilgrim Community as their home church and wish to be part of the life and ministry of our community of faith, nevertheless, do not wish to become formal members but stay as adhering guests only. (e.g. believers who are members in their churches in their hometowns who are now in Manila because of work or study and are consequently attending Pilgrim Community Church at present; believers who do not agree with our church’s views on baptism.) They are welcomed to partake of the Lord’s Supper but they do not have the right of the vote; also, while some may be Biblically qualified men, they may not hold office as Deacons or Elders of the church. As a requirement for formal membership is the affirmation of what the Church teaches and believes about the Gospel AND the nature and mission of the Church (this includes our view of the sacraments), those who are unable on account of conscience to affirm infant baptism are advised to elect to be adherents instead. Adherents are required to affirm the Westminster Shorter Catechism, although they are allowed to express take exception from the phrase “…but infants of such as are members of the visible church are to be baptized.” in Q/A 95 of the catechism.

Watch out for announcements in our church bulletin to check the next cycle of Membership Classes. If you have any questions or if you are interested in becoming a member at Pilgrim Community, please contact Pastor James.