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Archive for August, 2008

In Baptist circles, it’s possible to join a church via “promise of letter” from another church. The letter that is promised is supposed to be a letter that says the said member(s) is a member in good standing. Most of the time the letters are sent regardless of whether or not the person(s) meets the criteria for “good standing” status. I’ve seen letters that simply give the date when the person originally joined their church. I’ve also received post cards that merely verify whether people were members of a particular church. In every case, I have never received a letter that actually gives me some idea of a person’s participation in regular Lord’s Day activities and the overall life of the church or if they have ever been disciplined or not.

At Legacy, we have chosen to make sure other churches know exactly who desires to join their church. We have drafted a letter that we think is thorough and provides the information necessary to assist them in the membership process. What follows is a copy of that letter. I pray that it assists other churches in their own letter drafting, but more importantly remind our own members of how serious we take membership in the local church and our roles as shepherds.

Dear Pastor __________ and Members of ____________________ Church:

This letter is to inform you that after completing a New Member’s Information Class, sharing their personal testimony regarding their coming to a saving knowledge of Christ, obtaining the approval for membership from the Elder leading the New Member’s Class and the Elder reading/hearing the personal testimony, and acknowledging the Articles of Faith, affirming the Covenant of the Church, and agreeing to be governed by the Constitution and Bylaws of the Church as administered by the Elders, _______________ joined the fellowship of Legacy Baptist Church in __________ of __________.

Over the next _______________, _______________ participated in and contributed to the ministry and life of the church, consistent with God’s leading and with the gifts, time, and material resources each has received from God. They attended most members’ meetings and voted on the election of officers, on decisions regarding membership status, and on such other matters as may be submitted to a vote as they were able.

Also, during that time, they were never admonished by the elders or congregation, suspended from communion for a definite period, removed from an office or ministry, or excommunicated (see Matthew 18: 15–17; 2 Thessalonians 3: 14–15; 1 Timothy 5: 19–20; 1 Corinthians 5: 4–5).

Therefore, it is my pleasure as their shepherd and as your co-laborer and partner in gospel ministry to recommend ____________________ for membership at ____________________. They will be missed.

Blessings to you.

Chris Taylor, Teaching-Pastor/Elder
Legacy Baptist Church

To this point we have not had to send a letter to the contrary. If we ever do, I’ll be sure to pass that along after it’s written.

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My friend Mike posted this at his site and I thought I would do the same here. Vintage Voddie!

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I changed my mind. My thoughts are better left alone. Soap-box rants aren’t worth the time or the screen they are written on. Not to mention the fact that not everyone would understand any references to Father Tim.

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