Involvement and Membership
How Do I Get Involved?
The first step of involvement at AVPC by most people is attendance at one of the Sunday morning worship services. That’s a great place to start. But a church is more than a worshiping community. It is also a learning and serving community of people. So, after getting a feel for the church through its worship services, consider taking a next step into one of the following:
Pastor's Class: The Pastor’s Class, held during the Sunday School hour (9:45-10:45), is the first step we recommend to everyone. This class has a six-week curriculum that continues in perpetuity. In other words, after week six, we will start over again with week one. It will be held in the library just outside the sanctuary (see Facilities map). The purpose of the class will be twofold. First, it will provide a “next step” for our visitors who might have an interest in learning more about our church, its teachings and its pastor (and his wife). Second, every class will begin with an informal question and answer time designed to deal with questions that may arise during a sermon, or just common questions people have about Christianity. The curriculum doesn’t have to be followed sequentially, so just show up on any week. No signups are needed. Join us any Sunday, but note that there will be no Pastor’s Class in April and May, 2017.
Adult Sunday School: This is often the next step for most people, due its convenient meeting time between our two worship services. These classes are designed to help people grow in their knowledge of God and in their relationships with one another. Check out the link above for further information and join in with one of these classes at any time.
Small Groups: Small groups (numbering usually 6-12 people) provide a great opportunity to work out the application of your faith. Most groups meet in homes and focus on Bible study, personal application, and prayer for one another.
Men's Ministry and Women's Ministry: Both of these ministries provide opportunities to study, meet in small groups and serve others. Again, check out the links for further information and join either of these groups at any time.
How Do I Become a Member?
The membership process can begin in one of two ways. First, you can attend a "Membership Weekend" held four times a year. These weekend conferences are designed to give you an introduction to this church, including its theology, its pastors and its philosophy of ministry. The seminar consists of two sessions, beginning with a dinner on Friday night at 6:00 p.m. and wrapping up by 9:00 p.m. that night. The second session takes place from 9:00 a.m. to noon the next day, a Saturday. Childcare is provided. To register for the next Membership Weekend on July 21-22, 2017 either call Nancy in the church office (967-0680 ext. 10) or register on the website.
The second way to begin the membership process is by filling out a membership application, which can be obtained by calling the church office. Fill it out and forward it to the church in one of three ways: mail it to the church office, put it in the offering plate at a worship service, or give it to the pastor.
No matter which order you follow in the above two steps, your application won't be considered complete until both steps are complete. When they are, two of our ruling elders (the members of our ruling church Board) will be assigned to you for the purpose of conducting a membership interview. When the elders call, schedule a time and place for them to come and meet with you. This is usually done either in your home or at church, whichever place you would prefer.
The membership interview with the two elders will be for the purpose of hearing about your relationship with Jesus Christ. There is only one absolute requirement for membership here, and that is that a person believes in Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior. In order to determine this, they will probably ask you something like, “Tell us how you came to know Jesus as your personal Savior?” People have a variety of experiences along these lines. Some have a definite time and place when they remember coming to faith in Jesus. More commonly, a person’s coming to faith was a process and he or she is not aware of the precise moment. So, you don’t need to feel as if you need to duplicate someone else’s experience; just be honest about your own life.
The elders who visit you will want to know the manner by which you will affiliate with this church. There are three possibilities:
- You can join by profession of faith. This is for the person who has never been the member of another church as a born again believer in Jesus.
- You can join by reaffirmation of faith. This is for the person who has been a member of another church as a born again believer, but for whatever reason, his membership has lapsed.
- You can join by transfer of letter. This is for the person who is currently on the active role of a church of which he has been a member as a born again believer.
After your interview with the two elders, they will make a recommendation to the entire Session regarding your membership. You do not need to be present for this. At this same Session meeting, you will be assigned to a shepherding group. This is a way we seek to match up people with one shepherding elder. It will be our normal practice for one of the elders who initially visited you to be your shepherding elder. He will want to know you and be praying for you.
At some point after being received by the Session, we will ask you to come forward during a worship service of the church in order to be welcomed into the membership of the church.