Questions and Answers

What does it mean to be a church member?

Membership implies the fact of being a member of a group. As those who believe in Christ, we understand that we are a part of something larger. As St. Paul says, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27).  In Christ, we are a part of the Church universal or the entire sum of all believers; we are connected by our belief in Jesus as our Savior from sin, he is the only hope we have for life beyond this world.

While we are members of the church universal, the entire body of believers in Christ, Christ cares for believers through the local church. Local churches are numerous and varied in doctrines; people join a church for a variety of reasons, but ultimately when you become a member of a local church you are putting yourself under the spiritual care of that church’s pastor.

We may have various and multiple memberships in our life (shopping clubs, fitness clubs, zoo/ science museums, etc.) but when it comes to a church membership, we only belong to one church. Being a member of a local church places us into a community of believers who hold the same beliefs and values; that community of believers is cared for by a pastor.

How do I become a member at Immanuel?

Baptism: Whether young or old, baptism brings brings us into the Christian faith. Our church practices infant baptism (see Your Child's Baptism), because we take Jesus at his word when he says, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God." According to God's Word we also believe that infants and children are sinners and under the wrath of God, so they too need what is offered in baptism, namely the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.

However, we understand that not everyone is baptized as a child and many do come to faith in Jesus later in life. Membership for adults at Immanuel is both a baptized membership and a communicate membership with the privilege of joining together with us for the Lord's Supper. So if you have not yet been baptized, we invite you to share this with one of our pastors; they will be happy to visit with you about your faith, baptism and membership at Immanuel.

Transfer: Immanuel Lutheran Church is a member of a church body known as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). Those who are members of a sister LCMS congregation can become a member of Immanuel by speaking to one of our pastors and afterward requesting a transfer of their current membership to Immanuel.

Instruction: For those wishing to join from another church body outside of the LCMS, Immanuel holds information classes that offer a review of the Christian faith and shares those doctrines specific to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Our primary texts for this instruction are the Bible and Luther’s Small Catechism, which presents the faith as it is drawn from Scripture in a series of questions and answers, based in God’s Word. Overall instruction time is about nine hours, spread over 6-12 weeks. Following the completion of this class, an invitation is extended to join our congregation through a public profession of faith.

Membership for my family: It is Immanuel’s expectation that church membership should be for your entire family. We would welcome the opportunity for instruction to extend to all members of your family. Because membership at Immanuel shows agreement with our beliefs and teachings and also puts members under the pastoral care of our pastors, at the time of joining Immanuel all other congregational memberships would end. The pastor of Immanuel would be your shepherd and the elders of Immanuel would care for your spiritual welfare.


So how do I take the pledge of membership?

New adult members are received into membership either through a transfer of membership or a profession of faith. Those who desire to become members are asked the questions in the following rite; since baptism is assumed in the rite, those not yet baptized would want to be baptized first.


The Rite: Reception of Members by Transfer or Profession of Faith


Beloved in the Lord, our Lord Jesus Christ said to His apostles: “Whoever confesses Me before men, I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. ” Lift up your hearts, therefore, to the God of all grace and joyfully give answer to what I now ask you in the name of the Lord.  Matthew 10:32-33 NKJV alt.

Do you this day in the presence of God and of this congregation acknowledge the gifts that God gave you in your Baptism?  Yes, I do.

Do you renounce the devil and all his works and all his ways? Yes, I renounce them.

Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord, and in the Holy Spirit? Yes, I believe in God the Father; Son, and Holy Spirit.

Do you hold all the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures to be the inspired Word of God and the doctrine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, drawn from them and confessed in the Small Catechism, to be faithful and true? I do.

Do you intend to hear the Word of God and receive the Lord’s Supper faithfully? I do, by the grace of God.

Do you intend to live according to the Word of God, and in faith, word, and deed to remain true to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, even to death? I do, by the grace of God.

Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it? I do, by the grace of God.

Do you desire to become a member of this congregation? I do.

Will you support the work our gracious Lord has given this congregation with your prayers and gifts God has given you? I will, with the help of God.

Upon this your confession of faith, I acknowledge publicly that you are a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and of this congregation. Receive the Lord’s Supper and participate with us in all the blessings of salvation that our Lord has given to His Church, in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I am a new member, now what?

Congratulations and welcome, we are glad to have you with us at Immanuel. As a member, our first encouragement would be to make Sunday worship a priority; the very best of God’s blessings happens for us in worship, the hearing of God’s Word and the receiving His gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation in the Lord’s Supper.

If you have children that have not yet been baptized, we would encourage you to speak to one of our pastors about baptism and the gifts that God offers even to the littlest ones in our midst.

Growth in the Christian faith is not limited to just Sunday (or Saturday) worship; Immanuel has a number of Bible studies, Sunday school for all ages and Jr. High Catechism instruction that teach and encourage us in the faith.

People loved by God are blessed to share the hope and the joy that is theirs in Jesus; Immanuel has a number of ways to be a part of the sharing. Immanuel is blessed to have not just a church, but also a Christian Day School and a foreign language mission in our midst. Immanuel, Immanuel Lutheran Day School and Light of Christ Lutheran Chinese Mission are all blessed as members share their gifts of time, talents and financial support; together we are one mission sharing the love of Christ in a world that desperately needs Him.


We are thankful that as a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church you are joining us in the tasks our Lord has placed before us:

The mission of Immanuel Lutheran Church is to strengthen our church family through Word and Sacrament, to reach out with the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and to extend His love and care to one another.