If you decide to join our fellowship as a member, we encourage another step along the Get Connected path. We ask all of our adult new members to attend the regularly scheduled New Member Orientation. Whether you are a new Christian believer or a seasoned saint, regardless of your prior church background, we ask that you come to this important class.
The Orientation class differs from Dinner With the Pastor, so you will need to attend both meetings (one before you join and one after you join). A family lunch meal is served for the Orientation meeting. The next New Member Orientation is scheduled for April 19, (10 am - 1:30 pm). To make reservations (required) for the next New Member Orientation, please contact Ann Perry.
We are delighted that God has led you to attend FBC Garland and consider membership in our fellowship. We believe you are not here by chance, but that God has led you here for a purpose. For that reason, we offer this process for informing and orienting you to our church, its ministries, beliefs, and practices. We pray that God will bless you and draw you closer to Himself as you seek Him and His direction.
Assimilation and Orientation (an overview) - How the pieces of the puzzle fit together
The evangelism and discipleship roles of a church can be compared with the maternity ward of a hospital. In a maternity ward, new babies are carefully and lovingly introduced to their new world. Careful attention is given to ensure the newborns are healthy and ready for their life outside the womb. In the same way, a church is tasked with giving careful, nurturing attention to newborn believers in Christ. The time following their conversion is critical to healthy spiritual living. Two key parts of this task are assimilation of new believers and orientation of new church members (not to be confused with salvation).
Assimilation can be defined as identification. The process includes moving from a state of unfamiliarity to one of familiarity, through greater understanding. In spiritual terms, salvation involves the movement from darkness to light. There exists for every new believer the need to learn much about their new relationship with God through Christ. This may include clearing up prior misunderstandings and misconceptions about spiritual matters in order to establish one's newfound spiritual relationship on truth, not falsehood. It also includes helping new believers understand how they fit within the body of Christ, the church. And it involves a fuller understanding of interpersonal relations with other believers and the unbelieving world. Finally, assimilation includes moving the new believer from membership to service. Assimilation is not complete until a new believer is serving God in some way.
Separate, but related, is the process of orienting new church members. This is not to be confused with the salvation process, since church membership and involvement should follow salvation, not precede it, for the development of healthy believers. If new church members are not oriented, a church runs the risk of leaving new members to their own resources for discovering information about the church, its practices, beliefs, and ministries. It forces them to "fend for themselves" in these vital areas of discovery.
An effective new member orientation ministry will include several components: doctrinal and theological foundations (i.e., mission, vision, and core values), governance models, staffing, ministry organization, views regarding clergy/laity, and expectations of members (i.e., discipleship, ministry involvement, financial stewardship, and Great Commission support).
There are three key purposes served by a new member orientation class or process. Each of these helps clarify a church's expectations of new members (as informed by biblical truth).
Inform: people look for a church with a clear vision and strong sense of mission.
Interact: build relationships with others in the class, the membership, and with Christ.
Involve: each new member should be expected to get involved in an appropriate and applicable ministry
role or task.