You can begin to take steps that people have taken all over the world for more than 2,000 years. The Bible teaches us to take these “next steps” with a local church body and we’re ready to walk with you.
This is the front door to our church family. You will learn about the history of our church, our vision, how to get connected, and be on mission. This class happens at all of our campuses and while the material covered is the same, each campus has its own schedule and unique feel. You will get a chance to meet our pastors, church leaders, and others like yourself who are taking steps toward getting connected. This one-time class is a requirement for membership.
Relationship With Jesus
The Bible is clear that the most important question we will ever answer is Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?” The first step in living life as God designed it is to believe in Jesus as the One who died for our sins, was buried, raised on the third day, and who reigns today in heaven.
We have all departed from God’s design. The Bible calls this sin. Sin leads to brokenness in our lives. Brokenness is only repaired when we turn from our sin (repent) and put our faith in Jesus (believe). The Bible says that when Jesus started His ministry, He came saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
The diagram below is a simple way of helping you see what Jesus is talking about:
Your decision to repent and believe in Jesus means that you now have forgiveness, the free gift of salvation, and peace with God. You are a child of God! Following Jesus is a constant adventure. Now that you are His child, you have the freedom to repent, experience His grace and forgiveness, and be able to recover and pursue God’s design for the rest of your life.
As a new believer, you can begin to take steps that Christians all over the world have taken for more than 2,000 years. The Bible encourages us to take these steps with our local church body. We are ready to help as your church family!
The next step is believer’s baptism.
We want to make sure that you understand the meaning of baptism and know how to prepare for this special time.
What is the meaning of baptism?
Baptism is a symbol of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It is a visual picture that we have died to an old way of life without Jesus and are alive to a new life in Christ, giving us the hope and promise of eternal life in Him. It identifies us with Christ and with His body, the church (Romans 6:3-9 and Ephesians 4:4-6).The Bible gives account in the book of Acts when the believers were baptized. Again, the first baptisms on record are in the book of Acts and took place with the local body of believers. The church family celebrated them together, and this ties us to Christians of all times all over the world!
Who is baptism for?
Baptism is for believers in Christ. Salvation is by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. Belief in Jesus Christ is what makes you a believer, not baptism. Baptism is for believers AFTER they have put their faith in Christ. In the book of Acts, every person baptized did so after he/she believed.
Why should I be baptized?
Baptism is obedience to the Bible. Baptism is mentioned 70 times in the New Testament. Jesus Himself was baptized as an example for us (Matthew 3:16-19) and He commands all believers to be baptized (Matthew 28:19).
Why is it important that I be baptized by immersion?
Believer’s baptism by immersion was the method used in the early church as described in the Bible. Through descriptions such as “plenty of water” (John 3:23), “came up out of the water” (Mark 1:10), “went down…came up out of” (Acts 8:36) and others, it is clear that immersion was the practice. In addition to the examples and the symbolism (described above), the word baptism (Greek language) means to immerse.
What do you believe about infant/child baptism?
In some churches, infant christening or infant baptism is practiced. Though many times this represents a decision by parents to raise their children to know and follow God, it is important to note that it does not demonstrate the infant’s or child’s own personal belief. It is also important to know that if you were christened or “baptized” as a baby that does not make you a Christian. While we recognize the heart and intent of infant baptism or christening, we understand from the Bible that only professing believers in Christ qualify for baptism. We recognize the desire of parents to commit to raise their children to know God, and we want to partner with parents in doing so. For that reason, we practice “Parent/Child Dedication” as a celebration and milestone for parents and families, as well as for our church family. For more information, please contact our Kids Ministry.
What is the big deal about Church Membership?
In the Bible, being a part of the local church body was a big deal. The New Testament book of Acts describes the beginning of the church through the apostles. There are several examples of Peter, Paul, Stephen and others gathering “those who believed” in a local assembly to worship, receive instruction, and live in community with one another (Acts 2:41, 2:47). Throughout Paul’s letters to the churches, there is much reference and instruction to the local body of believers about leadership, accountability, conduct, offerings, etc. We are instructed to “assemble” together (Hebrews 10:24-25), to use our gifts to build the church (Ephesians 4:15-16), that pastors are to exercise leadership (Hebrews 13:17), and that churches are to exercise discipline within the body (I Corinthians 5:1-2, Matthew 18:15-20). You will also find metaphors used in Scripture which reference the relationship between Jesus and believers and require connection, such as the Head and the Body, Bridegroom and the Bride, Shepherd and the sheep.
How do I join?
Steps for Membership
1. Attend First Connection Class
2. Request Membership*
Statement of Faith
You can tell your faith story indicating when you trusted Christ as your Lord and Savior and that you have been biblically baptized by immersion.
Profession of Faith and Choose Baptism
If you have trusted Christ as your Lord and Savior and have not been baptized by immersion, you can become a member through baptism. You can schedule your baptism after making an appointment with one of our staff members.
This is an option given to those who live in Florida seasonally and college students who are attending Family Church while they are in school locally. It allows you to keep your membership at your home church while having the benefit of being part of a church body while you’re here.
3. Sign the card at First Connection indicating your desire to join