Reformed Church in America
congregations may be large or small, informal or formal, traditional or contemporary. But each exists to welcome others into a community of people who are learning about God, growing in faith, and serving their neighbors.
The Reformed Church in America offers a foundation for living in a world of change and challenges. We help people apply the Bible's teachings to their everyday lives. We want to tell others about the peace and joy that comes through knowing Jesus Christ. We reach out in communities across North America and around the world to show the love of Christ through words and through actions.
Our local churches run food pantries and after-school programs. Thousands of our members serve as volunteers in North America and overseas; they tutor at-risk kids in our big cities, rebuild hurricane-ravaged villages in Honduras, and teach English in Japan. Over a hundred RCA missionaries teach, practice medicine, and engage in community development worldwide in countries like Ecuador, Kenya, Japan, and Estonia.
The Reformed Church has been around for a long time: it was founded in 1628, just twenty-one years after the colony at Jamestown was established. But as we like to say, the RCA is "reformed and reforming," always finding fresh ways to express God's eternal truth. We welcome all to join us on the journey.
A Guide for Becoming an Active Member
So you’re interested in knowing how to join the church?
We’re delighted that God is leading you to explore membership here at Community Reformed Church!
10376 Felch Street, Zeeland, MI 49464 | Phone (616) 772-4907 | Fax (616) 772-5078
Why Join a Church?
There are many reasons to join the church. Here are a few:
- Identity. The church was instituted by Jesus to be his Body here on earth. Membership is a way to identify ourselves publicly as being part of that Body in a particular location.
- Belonging. When we join a church, we develop a deeper sense of belonging. It becomes our church, not just a church we are visiting or attending.
- Effectiveness. We can accomplish far more ministry together than we can alone—and it will be a far more effective ministry, because we’ll be using all of the various gifts in the Body.
Preparing To Join
Normally we suggest that you attend Community for several months before you decide to join. No church is right for everyone, and we want you to get to know us before you commit to membership here at Community. Membership also entails various responsibilities, and we want you to feel ready and eager to take on those responsibilities when you join.
If you are in our middle school or high school ministries, a new membership program called The Quest is offered several times throughout the year. Talk with one of the youth directors if you are interested. They will rejoice with you and give you helpful guidance.
New Members Classes are offered on a regular basis throughout the school year. While not required, these three-week classes are a valuable way to learn about Community and its beliefs, programs, and staff. Check the weekly Ties or call the church office, for the dates of the next series of classes.
When you feel you are ready to join, contact one of the pastors or your youth director. They will help you walk through the process of becoming an active member.
Three Entry Points
There are three entry points through which people are received into membership at Community. Which of these entry points applies to you simply depends on where you are in your journey with Christ. If you are not sure which one applies to you, please proceed with the membership process anyway, and you will be guided into the one that is most appropriate for you. Here are the three entry points for becoming a member at Community:
- Confession of Faith. The essence of being a Christian is having Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. The Apostle Paul writes, "If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). If you have never made a public confession of your faith in Christ, this is the place to begin. We invite you to join by taking this simple, but vital action.
- Letter of Transfer. If you are currently a member in good standing of another church, it may be possible for you to have your membership transferred to Community.
- Reaffirmation of Faith. If you were a member of a church at one time but drifted away for some reason, you may join by reaffirming your faith. You may also join by reaffirmation of faith if you currently belong to a church that does not transfer memberships (such as the Roman Catholic Church).
The Membership Process
The best way to become a member of Community Reformed Church is by going through our New Member Classes.
We offer New Member Classes every few months. These classes explore the history of the RCA, some of our basic beliefs, the Standards of the Faith (The Heidelberg Catechism, The Belgic Confessions, and The Canons of Dort), the five purposes of Community Reformed Church, what it means to belong to the church, and how you can connect to the church in an area that you are passionate about. Our goals are that we could begin building relationships so that we can know how we can best serve together here at Community Reformed Church.
We highly recommend the New Member Classes, but for those who are unable to come to these classes, a second option is also available. You can complete and return a membership form (available in the church office); then someone from the Becoming Team will call to set up a membership interview. Some of the same information from the membership classes will be covered during this interview. Based on the information from the interview, the Becoming Team will recommend to the Elders that you be received as a member of Community Reformed Church.
Those who complete the membership classes are automatically qualified for membership. Members are welcomed on the first Sunday of even numbered months. After you complete the classes, we will arrange the date for you to be publicly received during one of our worship services. During that service, you will be asked to come forward and publicly acknowledge your faith in Christ and your commitment to this church by responding affirmatively to several questions. If you have not been previously baptized, that will also be done at this time.
Membership in the Church is an ongoing process. You join only once, but your membership ought to grow and deepen over the years. This will happen as you commit yourself to:
- Regular attendance at worship and other church activities
- Praying faithfully for the church and for people in the church
- Giving generously of your tithes for the financial needs of the church
- Using your spiritual gifts and passion to advance the church’s ministries
- Reaching out to friends and neighbors who need to hear the Good News of Jesus
We rejoice that you are considering membership here at Community Reformed Church! Please let us know if there is any way we can serve you in this membership process.