Side by side for the Gospel
Unite: Side by side for the Gospel
God intends his people to be united in spirit and in purpose to take his gospel to the world. Unite is how you can join in and make a difference.
The Unite course is the key final step for membership in our Church.
At Unite you will discover how you can make an impact by being a healthy church member.
Entering into membership means you are committing yourself to being a partner in the spread of the gospel locally at North Coast Church. Practically, this includes serving at, praying for and supporting North Coast Church, under the guidance of the leaders. Membership also entitles you to vote at our biannual Members’ Meetings.
Membership is a public commitment to partner at North Coast Church for the growth of the gospel.
We believe that God gathers Christians together in local churches so they can work together to fulfil Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). We pray that as people come to faith in Jesus, they will realise their union not just with Him but also with other Christians, and thus seek to work in unity to further Jesus’ interests in our world.
You need to attend Unite as part of the process of establishing your partnership with the whole local church.
The rest of these FAQs flesh this out in more detail.
Partnership is working together in unity towards a common goal. This is a healthy thing that the gospel calls Christians to do. As Philippians 1:27-28 says, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that… you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.”
As well as unity, effective partnership requires a formal commitment from each participant, so that each can rely on the others. It also requires an organising structure so that things are kept in harmony. These things are addressed at Unite.
Becoming a Member is saying that you are choosing to commit to the whole to serve the common purpose of bringing the good news of Jesus to a dying world. You are becoming a partner in the mission. You are also submitting yourself under the guidance and oversight of the leaders.
Making this commitment is biblical and healthy, but it can also be uncomfortable, because it is all about giving up your own interests. You are making a commitment to sacrificially work towards the good of the whole, not yourself. It is about putting Jesus’ mission first, and your own interests behind. And it is this service of Jesus which is the pathway to joy! Jesus was our example, who came “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Illustration: At North Coast Church we continue to emphasise that we are on a rescue ship-style mission, where each sailor on board is making a God-given contribution towards the mission of rescuing people from drowning in the sea. This contrasts with a cruise ship, where people are just along for an entertaining ride for as long as they can remain comfortable. Don’t we long for the day when Jesus will reward us and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Mt 25:23)!
This is how you can express your Membership tangibly and effectively. You could think of it as the basic sailor training for our rescue ship. This is what we think are basic expressions of Christian discipleship, and are God’s ordinary means for building his church:
- Commit to a Sunday gathering and attend regularly – 9:30am, 5pm or 7pm.
- Belong to a Growth Group
- Serve on a team
- Give financially
- Stay informed
- Pray for the NCC Vision
We explore each of these things at Unite. We acknowledge that not everyone can do all of these things all the time, and we do not teach these as legalistic requirements. But as these things are worked out in your own life, you will find yourself making a contribution towards the mission of the church.
Firstly, get yourself acquainted with our church as a whole, for example, attend a Welcome Lunch. As you start to feel ‘settled in’ and make some friendships, please attend Life and Essentials. In the final week you will do Unite to find out what being a Member entails. Ask questions, and make sure you are satisfied with the answers. After doing Unite you have the chance to fill out a Membership Application. All applications are briefly assessed and after approval ‘Welcome to Membership’ letters are issued. After Unite, the whole process takes about three weeks.
Unite is the final step in the pathway towards membership at North Coast Church. Membership is reserved for Christians: those people who have repented of their sins, and give up their lives daily for the sake of serving Jesus. Mark 8:34-35: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.”
Additionally, and crucially, Unite is for those Christians who consider North Coast Church their spiritual home. Membership is specifically about joining with other Christians in this local church for propagating our common and specific mission together.
Christians need to have been in regular attendance at NCC for three months, and be 18 years of age, before being accepted as members.
Yes, attending is a key element to becoming a member. It is where we explain the aspects of being spiritually in agreement with each other. Doing Essentials first is fundamental to this, which is why Unite follows Essentials.
Some churches require people to undergo adult baptism prior to being accepted as church members. At North Coast Church we do not. We consider a genuine confession of Jesus as Lord, and an eager desire to grow as a Christian here at NCC as adequate. Because people are agreeing to partnership, we are also looking for agreement with the vision of the church. This is not to downplay the importance of baptism as an expression of Christian obedience; it is just that we do not link it to church membership.
Firstly, see the answer to “What is the process for becoming a Member at NCC?” for some background.
Really, we are merely covering minimum requirements to ensure unity. A unified congregation is extremely important for our gospel witness to the world, and our processes are designed simply to establish this.
For married couples, we encourage both spouses to attend. Not only will Unite prepare individual participants to partner with the church, but it is essential that husbands and wives are both united in their understanding of what the expectations of church membership are. Belonging to the local church, as an expression of Christian discipleship, will have certain implications for individual families because Christian discipleship involves connection with the whole church family.
In a case where only one spouse of a Christian couple can attend, we encourage husbands, in their God-given role as spiritual leaders of the family (Ephesians 5:22-27), to attend Unite on behalf of their family. All applicants to membership must be accustomed with the Unite content.
We take this situation on a case-by-case basis, however, ordinarily we do not accept people into membership who are still members of a previous church. This is because one aspect of membership is shepherding oversight by a church’s leaders. Being a member of two churches creates confusion, not just for the leaders but potentially for the particular member also. This is in the situation where a person is changing churches within Perth.
In a case where a member is moving to Perth from further-afield, the situation can happily be discussed.
Please make sure you have read the entire Membership Agreement and can agree to it entirely in good conscience. You will be issued this when you attend Unite.
Once you have signed it (or completed the identical online version), please return it to the slot at the Info Point on Sunday, or send an electronic copy to Dave Stephenson, Membership Pastor.