Why become a member?
Becoming a 'member' is a way of saying that you belong to and support your local Methodist Church and that you want to do this.
Being a member of the Methodist Church means that you can hold certain responsibilities (e.g. steward, pastoral visitor, local preacher). Only members can be on the church council or be elected to the circuit meeting, district synod or the Methodist Conference.
The promise of mutual support is one of Methodism's strengths. When you become a member, a pastoral visitor or a class leader is responsible for visiting you and offering spiritual support, encouragement and challenge.
Do I have to become a member to receive Holy Communion?
No. Methodists believe that Holy Communion is itself a 'means of grace' which may well draw you on to make further commitment to Christ. Children also may receive Communion.
If you or your child(ren) have not been baptised, and you do receive Communion, your minister will suggest that you consider being baptised. (The Methodist Church has produced a small colourful book, All This for You, about what baptism means in the Methodist Church, to help adults and parents of children think about what baptism means.) Click here to learn more about Baptisms.
If you are an adult, it may be the right time to consider membership as well, and preparation will be offered to you.
How do I become a member?
Talk to one of our ministers, who will let you know what arrangements are possible locally to prepare you. There may be a group of people in the church or the circuit, who are considering membership. It is important that you have the chance to explore your own questions about Christian faith and the particular witness that is offered in the Methodist tradition.
If after the time of preparation you still want to be confirmed and received into membership then a service will be arranged when this will take place.
What do I have to believe or say to become a member?
The Service of Confirmation and Reception into Membership includes two questions asked as an Affirmation of Faith: 'Do you turn away from evil and all that denies God?' and 'Do you turn to God, trusting in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and in the Holy Spirit as Helper and Guide?' The answer to both questions is 'By the grace of God I do.'
Everyone present is then asked to affirm their belief and trust in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, as members of the universal Church which has expressed its faith in the one God through such as the Apostles' Creed over the centuries.
After confirmation and the reception, the newly-confirmed are asked to make three promises: 'Will you commit yourself to the Christian life of worship and service, and be open to the renewing power of God?', 'Will you seek the strength of God's Spirit as you accept the cost of following Jesus Christ in your daily life?' and 'Will you witness, by word and deed, to the good news of God in Christ, and so bring glory to God?'. The response to each of these is 'With God's help I will.'
What are the obligations of membership?
The membership ticket lists commitments that members of the Methodist Church undertake:
As a member of the Methodist Church I am called to:
What is the membership ticket?
Every member of the Methodist Church receives a membership ticket at least once a year. This is signed by your minister and gives the details of your pastoral visitor or class leader.
Some members keep the card in their purse or wallet, others put in on their mantelpiece or use it as a bookmark in their Bible. It is a reminder of what you have taken on as a committed member of the Church. These commitments are described above in the answer to What are the obligations of membership?