As a former church planter, I wrestled with what should constitute membership in the church. It seemed to me that on a confessional level it meant believing John 3:16 to be the foundation of one’s life. Perhaps another way of confessing that faith would be to state that you believe the Articles of the Apostles’ Creed to be Biblical and true for one’s life. However to belong to a specific denomination means more education as to the specific church one joins. One is being a member of the body of Christ; the other is being part of a specific denomination of that larger body. I confess that I believe I did have a “handle” of what it meant to profess ones’ faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but besides having members read the small pamphlet, “Belonging” I did not educate them concerning the intricacies of the denomination. I know that for the church I attend today that I have not heard specific preaching on the Heidelberg Catechism or information concerning the connecting dots between church council, Classis, and Synod. Now that the denomination is much more than individuals steeped in the Reformed tradition, many of the folks joining the CRC from the community may also know little about the government of the church or the confessions of the church.
I have suggestions for how that information can be communicated. Many churches have computer overheads used for music. What if prior to the worship service one Lord’s Day from the catechism would be placed on the overhead each week for the congregation to read and reflect upon? Or what if elders would e-mail the Lord’s Day to their elder households with the Scripture Text and suggest it be used as a devotional for the household? The same could be done with the government of the church in which terms such as council, consistory, elder and deacons would be defined. It would also be possible to communicate the delegating structure of the denomination from local church to Synod.
Any other ideas you may have would be appreciated. Or maybe you think churches are already fulfilling the task of communicating what the CRC is all about.