Membership Matters is designed to help believers understand what the bible teaches about being part of a local church and why it’s important. This class also explains what being a member of EEC means in detail along with the church’s mission and values. 

Who Should Join?

  • Believers interested in learning more about EEC 
  • Believers interested in joining EEC and getting involved 
  • EEC Members who have not taken the class

Why Join?

Jesus calls His disciples to follow him together in a church community. All believers are members of Christ’s body (1 Cor 12:13) and members of God’s household (Eph 2:18). To follow Jesus obediently, disciples of Jesus need to learn how He wants them to live and relate with each other as fellow members of His body and put into practice.

Why Membership?

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body though many are one body, so it is with Christ.”
(1 Cor 12:12)

We live a society which promotes consumerism, personal autonomy, and low commitment. Membership of a club in Hong Kong involves paying a fee to be entitled to certain perks and benefits which are expendable if a better option comes along. This is not what church membership means.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul says that we are members of the body of Christ, and each one of us has a vital part to play. That is, we are intrinsically interconnected just as in the human body. If one part suffers, every part does, if one part rejoices, all rejoice. A disconnected hand will suffer and die, so a disconnected member of the church will also suffer and wilt spiritually. So, we are not consumers but servants, providing God’s love and care to each other. We are not independent but vitally connected to each other as an eye is to the hand. We don’t keep our options open, but plug in and commit, for it is only here that we express our family identity in Jesus most fully.

What is Membership?

  1. Biblical Commitment 

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of  bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42) 

“Be devoted to one another in love.” (Rom. 12:10) 

Membership is about commitment. It is the natural fruit of responding to the gospel and the act of those who want to follow Christ. After hearing Peter’s sermon, 3000 people repented in faith to Christ, were baptized, and were added to the church. Belonging to the church is an identity that must be expressed concretely. There was and is no such thing as believing in  Jesus apart from a deep commitment to the local church. For us, membership in a low commitment culture is a way of being counter-cultural and saying visibly, “I’m part of this church.” It’s going from being a “fan” of EEC to becoming a “family member.” From saying “I like  EEC” to “I’m committed to EEC.” Though there are many amazing churches in Hong Kong, you are saying this is where my church home is, and I am on board with EEC’s teaching, values,  vision, and mission. 

In Scripture, there are clearly well-defined boundaries as to who is “inside” the church and who is “outside” as seen in the lists of widows (1 Tim. 5:9) and putting out a member from the church  (1 Cor. 5:3-5). When a believer moved from one church to another, letters of commendation were often written to the new church (Acts 18:27; Rom. 16:1; Col. 4:10; cf. 2 Cor. 3:1-2). In a  transient culture, membership is an important way to stop dating the church and settle down to marry her! 

  1. Following Jesus in Community 

Membership is also about commitment to the journey of growing as a disciple of Jesus in the community. A disciple is someone who is growing in trusting Jesus as Saviour and joyfully obeying him as Lord in every area of life. The truth is that God has given us community because we cannot grow as disciples independently—we need community. The responsibility the church has for one another is expressed in the New Testament in over 50 “one another” sayings (see  Rom. 12:6-8; Heb. 10:24-25; 1 Pet. 4:10-11). But a key passage is Hebrews 3:13, which says  “Exhort one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by  sin’s deceitfulness.” 

Sin is deceitful. It creeps up on us subtly and we are often blind to it. Members, therefore, see their responsibility not to ignore those who are struggling, absent, or going astray but to encourage, rebuke, correct, and serve them on that journey of discipleship. In effect, we’re  saying, “I want to help you to grow in godliness, and will you help me to do the same?” 

  1. Reaching the Lost 

Intrinsic discipleship is the call to make disciples (Matt. 28:19-20). Members see that reaching out to others is not only the job of the pastor or staff, it is the call for every believer to play a part in God’s great redemptive mission in the world. In a world where we’re looking to live purposeful lives, membership states formally, “I am part of something bigger than myself. I want to be  involved with the church’s mission.” 

  1. Submitting to Godly Leaders 

“So I exhort the elders among you… shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising  oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain,  but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Pet.  5:1-3) 

Following Christ also means submitting to godly elders. The role of elders (pastors) is summed up in the biblical image of shepherds with a flock, feeding them with truth, caring for them,  leading them, and protecting them from being led astray. This includes setting the direction of the church, exercising church discipline in cases of unrepentant sin (Matt. 18:15-20), and praying and looking out for members. Any sheep that have no shepherd is vulnerable to being eaten by the wolves of sin or false doctrines (Acts 20:28-29). 

Pastors’ authority comes not merely from a title but from the word of God they speak and the character of their lives lived in obedience to that word (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9). As the elders seek to follow Christ, so the flock should seek to follow their leading as long as it is in line with  Scripture. As Christ was a servant, so elders in the church are to be servant-leaders not power-hungry (1 Pet. 5:2-3). Where elders or other members are acting out of line with Scripture, it is the members’ responsibility to seek to graciously correct, rebuke, and encourage them to come back to Christ. 

“Obey your leaders and submit to them for they are keeping watch over your souls as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of  no advantage to you.” (Heb. 13:17) 

Pastors will be called to account by God for how they have watched over the flock, and so it is important for them to know who they are accountable for. That is why signing the membership document is important to help elders know who their sheep are, so they can pray, support, and care for them. Likewise, it is important that the flock know who their shepherds are so they can submit to them. 

Membership Requirements

  • Having professed faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour through water baptism
  • Formal verbal agreement to “EEC Membership Commitment” and “Church Covenant”
  • Completing the membership process
  • Read: EEC Church Covenant and Member Responsibilities

    Membership Process

    Step 1: Attend Membership Matters

  • Provides informal setting to understand membership, what we believe as a church, and why
  • Takes places over 2-3 sessions (depending on meeting size and schedules)
  • Email Pastor Evangel (evangel.tam@eechk.org) to make arrangements
  •  
    Step 2: Meet with Church Pastor or Leader  

    If you decide to move into membership, a leader will meet with you to talk about:

    • Your faith journey
    • Your understanding of membership and intent to join the church
    • Questions you may have and further opportunities to connect and serve at EEC

    Our hope is to get to know you better and you us in this process.

    Step 3: Get to Know the Church

    • The members of the church will be informed that you would like to join
    • This gives everyone a chance to intentionally get to know each other better

     
    Step 4: Welcomed as a Member

    • Officially welcomed into the church during a Sunday worship service

    Common Questions & Concerns

    Fear of Commitment

    This is very real in our culture as we fear being tied down, restricted, or missing out on other “better” options. The gospel challenges us that we find our greatest freedom not in our independence and autonomy, but in a rooted community where we are committed in love.

    Fear of Authority

    Some people have had bad experiences of leadership which have scarred them. Authority can be a stick used to beat people into submission rather than the loving exercise of God-given leadership as it should be. We understand Biblical submission though as coming under the authority of Scripture which is faithfully taught by men that God has placed as shepherds over his flock to lead them to Christ. As sheep we are prone to wander, so to refuse to come under the covering of godly leaders is as dangerous as a sheep wandering off by themselves in wolf territory. Ultimately, it is a rejection of God-given protective authority over our lives.

    Hurt by a Previous Church

    We understand that it can be very hard and difficult to open yourself up after having been hurt by a church community. The process of healing and forgiveness takes much time, patience, and prayer. The solution however is not to distance yourself from God’s people, but to join a church that is healthy and that can help encourage, support, and build you up again. We need to be part of a church body to grow, but the church is full of sinners and often ends up hurting each other. This is why there are so many repeated commands in Scripture for Christians to forgive each other, bear with each other, and look to each other’s interests in humility. Don’t feel discouraged! Hold on to the gospel truth that God will finish the work of salvation he started and that in Christ there is healing and forgiveness. This is true for yourself and also for the church community you were hurt by.

    Short/Uncertain Length of Stay

    Don’t let uncertainty about the future keep you from obedience in the present! We encourage you to join the church, whether you’re here for only 1 year, 2 years, or 20 years! Your commitment to a local church is important for you to keep growing as a disciple. It gives you a chance to serve God where he has placed you right now. People often stay longer than they initially thought, so do not press pause in your discipleship but get involved.

    I Am Already a Member of Another Church, Can I Still Be a Member of EEC?

    We recognize some people are only in Hong Kong temporarily and will go back to their previous churches in other countries. In such cases, yes, you can be a member of both. However, membership is about investing in one church family, so if you are a member of a church in Hong Kong, we would ask you to transfer your membership to EEC and talk with a deacon or pastor about any further issues.

    Class Details 

    Dates: November 14th-28th (TBC)

    Time: Sundays 1:30-2:45pm

    Location: Church Sanctuary (TBC)