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I was approached about conducting a profession of faith class for a young adult who is a baptized member of a neighboring church. The young man (20ish) does and will continue to worship in the morning at the neighboring congregation holding his 'baptismal membership'. However, he attends our worship services in the evening and would work through our profession of faith class and make his public profession of faith at a service in our church. We wondered what happens to his "professing membership" once he makes public profession of faith in our congregation? Are there other hurdles or concerns of which we should be aware?  



Thanks for the question Josh. I reached out to Howard Vanderwell at Calvin Seminary to ask for his advice. Here's what he offered for consideration: 

1. In which of these congregations does he intend to remain affiliated, either, or both?  How he answers that might provide insight into which is his "primary membership".

2. Normally baptism and profession of faith are combined as a unit in the same congregation, so it's rather unusual to have one here and another there.

3. Possibility #1 is that he "transfers" his baptism record to the new congregation (yours) at the time of making POF there. Then they are together there which is the usual way.

4. The other possibility is to receive a statement by him, if necessary verified by the other congregation, that his is in fact baptized, and then the profession of faith can proceed without an adult baptism. A statement that there is a baptism in his past is usually sufficient. Your congregation/Elders can then acknowledge his baptism at _____, and proceed with his POF.  But some churches are very careless in keeping record of such things.  If  he  has not been baptized, then his POF should be turned into an adult baptism.  

I hope this helps. It does seems like a decision that should be made by your council since they know the situation best. You could always reach out to your classis for guidance on the issue as well. 



Thnaks to Josh and Derek for e-mails. A number of years ago we had similar situation in our church. :


1. Several high school youth who were very involved in our hi school group desired to make professuion of faith.. Most were baptized members from other denominational churches.

2. We talked with the parents and also at least one church leader from their "home" church concerning their desire to proceed with POF at our church.

3. These students went thru our POF mentoring process, made POF and ultimately joined our church.


I think the key to this proces working as well as it did,  was due to time taken to pray,  listen/talk with student's home church leaders and family members.  All involved understood that this was the work of the Holy Spiit leading them in their journey.

  We have been all blessed.




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