What is membership?
The power and peace in commitment.

There is something powerful (and daunting) about commitment. In taking marriage vows, we are giving up some personal freedoms in order to have an intimate partner on our life journey. When we commit to a contract, we are agreeing to fulfill the requirements in exchange for something  - maybe security, money, or work to be completed. 

Membership in a local church (like Gretna) is in some ways separate from a commitment to Jesus, and in some ways very connected.  It is certainly true that each of us is called  to make and steward a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (Ph 2:12-13) - as those adopted into his family (Eph 3:20).  Membership in a local church family is a commitment to worship, work, and grow with a group of your brothers and sisters in Christ - traveling the journey of faith together. 

Membership FAQs

Here are some answers to common questions.

Most of the New Testament is focused on two things: declaring the identity & work of Jesus (the Gospel), and helping his people (the church) understand what it means to live out their faith.  The church is God’s chosen mechanism for this two-fold mission (Acts 1:8). Jesus never intended for us to take it on alone; expecting us to encourage, serve, and even challenge one another along the way (Heb 10:24-25). The goal of membership is for each of us to put our God-given gifts to use in helping all of us live out our faith, and - critically - tell the world of our Savior (Rom 12:4-8). 

Every family has a set of expectations. Some are written (‘chore list’), some are verbal (a promise), and some are simply part of the DNA of a family (loving each other).  There is also no such thing as a “perfect” family - where everyone sees everything the same way, and functions in perfect harmony with each other.  Gretna is no exception. We know we are all broken (Rom 3:23), but we are committed to walking our collective faith journeys together. 

  • Gathering together often. As a body, we set aside Sunday morning as our time of corporate gathering. We believe that meeting together is critical (Heb 10:24-25), and an expectation of members. We can’t build relationships if we are not together.
  • Intentional, impactful relationships.  This doesn’t happen by accident - it’s a choice. It takes time, consistency, and commitment (Acts 2:42-47) to activities such as LifeGroups, Bible studies, Fellowship events - and simply choosing to do life together.
  • Seeking Unity.  Each of us has passions & callings that can sometimes feel conflicting. Yet, Scripture calls us to be of one mind (Phi 2:2, Rom 15:6). Membership includes a commitment to one another to directly (Matt 18:15) speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15), and approach disagreements with humility (1 Pet 3:8) and patience (Rom 15:5).
  • Submission to one another.  As believers, we are called to submit to one another (Eph 5:21) - acknowledging that we better see and affect the will of God for Gretna together. Membership includes a commitment to group discernment by adhering to the Constitution & Bylaws of Gretna, participating in Congregational Business Meetings, and working together once a decision is made.  We think it’s important to pause here, and highlight that this commitment isn’t about control, or submission to a linear idea of authority - where there are clearly those ‘in charge’ and those that ‘follow’. We are ALL following Jesus - he’s the one ‘in charge.’ Submitting to one another means understanding that God has gifted each of us differently, and recognizing that we are at our best when we acknowledge that we need to trust one another’s gifting in our joint mission of pursuing God. 
  • Praying for each other.  We believe that earnest prayer is a powerful thing (Mt. 7:7, Acts 9:40, Jm 5:14-16, Ph 4:6-7). Members of Gretna are expected to bring prayers & praises before each other and the Lord.
  • Championing family relationships. If married, we believe investing in the spiritual and emotional health of our marriages is critical (Eph 5:21-6:4). Whether married or not, we are called to prioritize the well-being of our families (1 Tim 5:8).
  • Declaring Jesus Christ to the World. This is the primary mission of the church: “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matt 28:19-20).”
    • Individually.  Jesus died to save us out of love (John 3:16-17). We are called to be witnesses of this love (Act 1:8). Witnesses, by definition, tell others what they see, experience, and believe.  It is an expectation of members to tell others the good news (‘Gospel’ means ‘good news’), and help them find salvation in Jesus Christ. 
    • Corporately. Gretna members support and participate in a number of mission works - locally, regionally, and globally - that are focused on reaching others for Christ. An active, impactful faith is marked by a commitment to helping others establish their own relationship with Christ.
    • Financial Support. One of the hallmarks of the body of Christ is it’s willingness to provide: for one another (Acts 4:32-35, 1 Cor 16:1-4), and the mission of spreading the Gospel ( 1 Cor 9:4-14, 2 Cor 11:8-9, Phil 4:15). Membership includes an expectation to consistently participate financially in the work God is doing at Gretna through tithing, and special offerings.
    • Spiritual Gifts.  God calls us to use the gifts He has provided each of us in order to complete the work to which all of us are called (1 Cor 12:12-27). Membership includes an expectation to discover and use those gifts on the mission.
  • Personally. We believe that a prerequisite for membership in the local church is restoration in Jesus Christ as demonstrated by a confession of faith in Him (Rom 10:9), and a public declaration of that faith through baptism by immersion (Acts 2:38).  This is what God has been calling people to since the beginning.
  • Lifelong, individual & communal  pursuit of the God of the Bible. Learning about and growing with an infinite God isn’t something we can mark ‘complete’, or something we can do as a pastime. It is an identity, forged in daily decisions to seek Him (Prov 8:17). All of us are here to help each other in the mission, but each of us must choose to chase Jesus (Gal 6:1-6) through prayer, study of His exclusive Word (2 Tim 3:15-17), and putting faith into practice daily (Luke 9:23, James 2:14-16).
  • Value the restoration of others.  Jesus tells us that the world will know us by how we love each other (John 13:35). One of the greatest indicators of such a love is desiring to see others grow in their connection to God.  Jesus, in fact, tells us that there is unequaled  joy in heaven over one person’s restoration (Luke 15:7).  Being a part of that restoration journey is one of our greatest joys as well.
How do I become a member at Gretna?
Membership is a commitment, both from the prospective member & the people of Gretna. Membership is confirmed in the following fashion:
  1. Commit to Jesus.  We are a local expression of a global (and eternal) commitment to Jesus Christ. Membership at Gretna is secondary to a commitment to follow Christ.
  2. Declare your commitment to Jesus through Baptism. We think it’s critical to our walk with God to announce to others that we are His people. Baptism by immersion is the example we see throughout the New Testament. If  you have been previously baptized by immersion, SWEET! There is no need to repeat it. If you have not, let the pastor know. We would love to be a part of that step in your journey.
  3. Contact the Pastor. He/she will want to sit down with you, learn of your faith journey, and answer any questions you have about Gretna or (more importantly) following Jesus.
  4. Commitment & Confirmation. Once you and the Pastor have agreed that membership is the next step, you will be asked to stand before the body of Christ (usually at a Sunday gathering). Here the body of Gretna will make a verbal commitment to the things we hold dear (see above), and you to them. After this, our Deacons will gather around you, laying hands on you (Acts 8:17), and prayerfully confirm your new membership.
  5. Jump in. Membership isn’t a status symbol, it is a commitment to actively engage with each other in the work of God at Gretna. Look for places to get involved, and dive in!
Membership Questions?