Becoming a Member of the Metropolitan Community Church
Many people come along to Metropolitan Community Churches and enjoy, and support, our life and ministry. We welcome people from all walks of life and our congregation is a vibrant fun place to be where we can grow as committed disciples of Jesus. Many people want to move from a position of companionship with us to commitment to the work of God in this place, by formally becoming members of MCC. This leaflet gives a broad outline of both what it means to be a member of MCC Manchester and the process of becoming one.
What Members Can Do
The most basic thing that members can do is vote in the General Meetings of the church. The government of the congregation is vested in these meetings and in the Board of Directors and Pastor, who are elected at them. By using our votes as members we elect personnel, decide on budgets, and prayerfully discern policy issues like our mission and values.
Membership, however, is about much more than voting. As a denomination we believe in the 'priesthood of all believers'. We interpret this to mean that members can train to take part in different aspects of our worship together - reading the Scripture passages we preach on each week, writing and delivering the prayers, presiding at the celebration of Holy Communion and training to preach God's word to us.
Those who join the church formally as members are demonstrating their support and commitment to the work of God within this congregation.
What Members Promise
The Metropolitan Community Church is a Christian church which upholds the traditional faith of the Church. Those who wish to join affirm, therefore, their faith in God. They reject Satan, all his works and empty promises and they assert their faith in God the Holy Trinity using words based on the traditional Apostles' Creed.
Having affirmed their Christian faith, the candidates for membership promises to live out their Christian discipleship in the community of MCC Manchester. They do this by promising to: protect the unity of the church; share the responsibility of the church, serve the ministry of the church; and to support the outreach of the church.
Protect the Unity of the Church
All groups and communities of people experience conflict from time to time. This is inevitable and, sometimes, healthy. We believe, however, that the Church of Jesus is One - in that we are united to Jesus and to all other Christians who ever have lived, who are living and who ever will live. Members promise, therefore, to protect the unity of the Church in various ways. We promise to act in love towards other members and attenders; we may not like everyone who is here, but we have to love them. We promise to refuse to gossip; malicious talk about others is hurtful and unnecessary. We promise to prayerfully follow the leaders that God has raised up here; this does not mean blind obedience, but a prayerful discernment process. We promise to deal directly with those with whom we disagree; talking to anyone else will not solve the problem!
Share the Responsibility for the Church
The work of the church is shared by its members. We promise, therefore, to pray for the growth of the church - praying that we will grow spiritually, in maturity, in service of others as well as in numbers. We promise to invite our un-churched friends along to worship and by warmly welcoming our guests so that they feel at home amongst us.
Serve the Ministry of the Church
We promise to discover our gifts and skills, and to find out how to use them in a Biblically-based ministry of service. We seek to develop a servant's heart and so imitate Jesus our Lord.
Support the Outreach of the Church
Any church which does not reach out to those around it will die. We promise to attend faithfully, to live a godly, morally mature life, and to give regularly.
We regularly offer classes for those who wish to join our church. These classes look at the promises and responsibilities of membership in more detail. They focus on three broad areas: our Christian faith, the responsibilities of membership, and the gifts and talents we have. The classes also consider the life of Jesus - the one whom we pledge to follow. After attending the classes the membership candidate is asked to complete a spiritual gifts discovery questionnaire and to meet with Andy, our pastor, to discuss their gifts and skills as well as their own spiritual journey. Membership classes are open to anyone who wishes to discover more about what MCC believes.
A Process of Discernment
We take church membership very seriously indeed and see someone exploring membership as engaging in a mutual discernment process. The candidate is seeking to discover if God has truly called them to membership of MCC Manchester, and we are seeking to discern if the person is truly called to be here too. It may be that during the process it becomes apparent that membership is not yet appropriate for someone.
We expect people to be involved in our life for at least six months before joining; regardless of whether they are new members, transfers from another MCC, or if they are people who are returning to membership with us. This time of discernment is a gift from God to allow us to more fully explore what God is calling us to do.
We, therefore, expect the membership service to reflect what is already going on in the person's life. By the time they get to membership they should be clear about their faith, and already showing, by their actions, that they will keep the solemn promises of membership. People who join us, therefore, are already attending and giving regularly to us as well as keeping the other membership vows.
Open to God
Being a member of MCC is exciting as it is to share in the strength and wonder of one of the most powerful and liberating churches in Christian history. Becoming a member of MCC is about opening yourself up to the Holy Spirit and asking to be filled anew with power from on high so that you can effectively share in the work of the Church.
By taking time to explore if this level of commitment is appropriate to you we seek to strengthen you in your Christian journey and to strengthen the ministry and witness of our church.