Why call it partnership?
Here is why we are choosing to call it “Partnership” and not “Membership.” Titles are important, not only because of the meaning they carry, but also because of what we experientially associate with them. In our cultural context, the term membership can imply that the church is something you can join in order to get special privileges others don’t have or you merely “join” a church in the same way you join a local health club, golf course, community organization, or hotel loyalty program. Membership in those settings involves paying a set of dues to an organization in exchange for a service. You have certain privileges as a member, and your relationship with that organization is consumer in nature.
There is nothing wrong with your gym, golf club, local civic organization, or loyalty program membership being consumer based. A local church however isn’t something you just “join,” it is something you both partner with in mission and submit yourself to. It is much more like joining a team than it is joining your local YMCA. Therefore, we feel that the term “partner” best describes what it means to be intentionally committed to a local church. Partnership is less about special privileges and more about intentional accountability and oversight in your discipleship to Jesus.
The New Testament pattern is that every Christian should be committed to a specific local church and under the spiritual care of appointed leadership. It is through the local church that God desires the Christian life to be lived out. Church partnership is for all believers, but for believers only. Because of that it is important that each local church has a process for identifying the specific people they are called to care for and exercise oversight over (Heb. 13:17). It is equally important for the church partners to know the specific people they are partnering with on mission (Heb. 10:24) and the local leadership they are choosing to come under.
Who can become a partner
at elm city church?
Any disciple of Jesus who is willing to partner in the mission, vision, and values of Elm City Church, and can affirm our Statement of Faith, may apply for partnership.