Becoming A Member
How do I get started?
The best way to get started is by jumping in wherever you feel most comfortable. By attending our worship services, joining us for fellowship, or participating in any of our programs, you’ve already started your journey to becoming a part of our church family. There’s no pressure to join. We respect each individual’s spiritual journey and try to live into the United Church of Christ’s motto: “No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!”
One easy way to learn more about the congregation is to attend one of our New Member Inquirers lunches that are held several times each year. We share a bit about ourselves and talk about Lakewood UCC and our denomination, the United Church of Christ. Attending a New Member Inquirers meeting does not obligate you to become a member of the church; it’s simply a way for us to get to know you better, and for you to get to know us better. For more information, contact the Church Office or one of our Pastors.
Do I have to join to be part of the church?
No. You can participate in nearly every aspect of the church’s life without becoming a member. You can serve on Boards and Committees, you can take and serve communion, and you can be as involved as you’d like to be. Nevertheless, many of us find that our experience and relationships become deeper and richer for having made the commitment of membership. We have a sense that something important happens when we decide to make a public declaration about our involvement. As a congregational church, members vote in congregational meetings (held a couple of times each year) on issues such as the budget, the election of officers and board members, the calling of pastors, and other policies. In order to vote in a congregational meeting, you must be a member of the church. Outside of that, you’ll notice very little difference between members and non-members at Lakewood UCC.
What does membership mean? Do I have to believe certain things?
Choosing to become a member of Lakewood UCC is like saying, “Okay. This is my spiritual home. These are my people. This is where I want to anchor my journey.” As a part of the United Church of Christ, we are non-creedal church. That means we view creeds and statements of faith as “testimonies not tests.” We acknowledge the wisdom and insight of some of the historic creeds and faith statements, but we do not require you to believe or assent to any particular set of doctrinal statements. That said, the United Church of Christ has a Statement of Faith that seeks to describe the beliefs of many (though not all) who consider the UCC a church home. Many in our community find these statements to be meaningful and an important part of our shared identity.
How long do I have to attend before I can join?
There are no specific requirements or timelines for joining. Some have chosen to join within a month of coming here for the first time. Others have waited more than 10 years before deciding to join the church. Each person’s situation and faith journey is unique. As Jesus says in the Gospel of John, “The Spirit blows where it chooses.” When the Spirit seems to be calling you to join, then that’s the right time for you.
What does it cost?
There are no requirements of attendance, participation, or giving to be a part of Lakewood UCC. Members support the mission and ministry of the church in whatever ways and to whatever degree they are able. We hope that you’ll be inspired to give whatever feels right to you.
What’s the process?
Once you’ve decided to become a member, you’ll join our congregation during a Sunday worship service. We introduce and welcome the new members through what we call “The Reception of New Members,” which happens several times a year. Both the people joining and the congregation make promises to care for and support one another on our spiritual journey together.
Can I keep my church connection back home?
Typically people are only a member of one church at a time. However, we recognize that for various reasons, sometimes people don’t want to completely break ties with their previous church as they’re entering into relationship at Lakewood UCC. If you’re interested in keeping your membership at your previous congregation while becoming a member here, feel free to discuss your situation with either of the Pastors.