I thought I would share David and My journey on becoming members of Immanuel Baptist Church because it is somewhat of an unlikely story and I’m sure many of my readership have experienced similar random stories involving the rules of church government.

Let me start by saying this is in no way a “bag” on church government. Church government is necessary in keeping the peace among people who are undoubtedly sinful at the heart. Just because Christians are striving to be the most like Christ, our hearts naturally stray towards chaos instead of order… at least when other people we are supposed to love are involved.

My experience with church membership is minimal. I never became a member at the first church I attended, and at the second church I attended membership was based on commitment to the body and approval of your being there. Eventually we filled out a form and signed it and stuff but there was nothing formal about. Being here, at this church, I have learned that there is ALOT involved in becoming a member of a Southern Baptist Congregation, all of which has been designed after biblical instruction.

So. Our story. Back in early november David and I first visited Immanuel and were able to witness the induction of three new elders and a baptism. Right away we saw wisdom in the leadership and eldership of this church, so we decided to continue visiting. During Dec and Jan we got to know several of the members over lunch dates and friday night dinners and we concluded that the body was striving equally with the leadership to serve God fully and for His glory. So in Febuary we filled out a membership application. The next step is to have an interview with one of the pastors, who will discern whether we are serious believers or deceivers. So we got a call to set up an interview time the final week of my pregnancy. We explained that we had an induction scheduled for the next Monday, so if the Paster wasn’t available before that we would obviously need to put it off… he wasn’t available, we put it off. Well, Jamesy came, family came, meals from church came and at the end of March the time came to schedule that interview. Then I had to have that little surgery the first week of April and I was healing the next week, then we were off to Cali the next week and before we knew it we were home from Cali and it was May. Well, after a week of readjustment, we scheduled that interview! for the second week of May. When we arrived for the interview we were informed that the character reference, which is a form your previous church has to fill out saying your weren’t scallywagons when you attended there and is necessary before you can become members, had not been returned when it was sent out in FEBRUARY… Okay, so the interview goes well, the church mails them another reference, we check up on it, it was never seen, so we try emailing with an attatchment, it isn’t returned… by now it is the eve of our trip to Cali, so David decides he is going to hand deliver this stinkin reference and make sure it is filled out dangit!… the pastor is out of town…. go figure… so we leave it behind in the hands of hopefully accountable friends that ensure its completion and return…. We got a call last week that it was received, yay! The next hoop to jump through to become members is going up in front of the entire church and answering questions about commitment and being a believer and then the congregation votes on whether or not you can join… The church secretary informed me that they have moved this little formality of the vote to Wednesday night, which doesn’t start until 7… 30min past Jameson’s new bedtime that we have just barely installed for a week… I explain the bedtime issue… she agrees and says she’ll talk to the pastors about another time… Well, at church yesterday, at the end of the service, the pastor annouces the new canidates for membership, including our names and a few others who have more than likely not been waiting as long as we have to go up on that stage and answer some questions and get voted on…. but the pastor then says they will be voted on tonight, at the members meeting, starting at 6…. I say to myself, “okay, no problem, Jameson can stay up half an hour past his bedtime, he’s flexible, I’m flexible, it will be fine… as long as it is first and quick…” So we show up, on time, and are handed the agenda for the meeting, ready to get our vote on and be members already… the voting is last on the agenda… at 7pm, and only a third of the way through the agenda, we realize we can’t stay till the voting. Jameson has been yawning and rubbing his eyes for the past 45min and we know he can’t last any longer… so we left… still not members… on June 22nd.

We look like members, we smell like members, we talk like members, we act like members… but we’re still not members….

(congrats to you if you read this entire rant)