How to become a member of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church?
We use three terms to describe the way people become members of our congregation:
3) Affirmation of Faith
Let’s briefly consider all three:
It is the custom at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran to confirm all baptized members 14 years and older. This Confirmation takes place only after the person has been catechized in the “Six Chief Parts of Christian Doctrine” as set forth in Luther’s Small Catechism. For the youth such Catechesis last 2 years, for Adults about 20 weeks. Then after successful completion of the Catechesis, the Catechumen is given the opportunity to make his Confirmation vows- that is, to publicly confess his faith in and to publicly promise to remain faithful to the Triune God unto death. After this he is received into “communicant” membership, meaning that he is now able to enjoy full membership within the Lutheran Church, including, and most importantly, the reception of Holy Communion.
When a communicate member of another congregation with which we are in full fellowship requests membership in our congregation, he is granted a transfer of membership from his former congregation to ours. This is done by a simple vote of the Voting Assembly at a regularly scheduled meeting.
Affirmation of Faith
A member who has been instructed in the “Six Chief Parts of Christian Doctrine as set forth in Luther’s Small Catechism” but does not belong to a Lutheran congregation that is in full fellowship with ours may be received into membership at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church by affirmation of faith if, after meeting with the Pastor, it is determined that he is in full doctrinal agreement with the Lutheran Confessions, has not been excommunicated and is not presently living in unrepentant sin. This is a determination that the Pastor of the congregation must make by the authority of his office, and if he does then he is granted membership into our congregation again by a simple vote of the Voting Assembly at a regularly scheduled meeting.