It’s time for the next portion of Elder J.H. Waggoner’s series The Church. If you want to read along, you’ll find the article here (on p. 424). The subject matter is on how prospective members should be added, how absentee members should be handled, and how members should not be allowed to drop away without the church’s knowledge of it and the reasons why.
Below are the list of eight principles that Elder Waggoner brings out in bringing new members in. The words in bold are Elder Waggoner’s words; the rest is a summary of them.
- Let all applicationsbe laid over for at least one week (to allow the church members to examine the applicants). And if there is a transfer from an old church, that church should issue a traveling letter to be renewed every three months (until he or she becomes a member of a new church, to make sure the person walks orderly during that time).
- In all cases let a judicious and competent committee be appointed to examine applicants. The committee should become satisfied that the applicant is in the faith; that he loves the truth, and has a sufficient understanding of it to
justify his being received; especially of those points which have a direct practical bearing on the life. They should ascertain if be is ready for church membership; if he has a proper sense of its importance, and the responsibility which it imposes; if he is fully resolved to fulfill the duties of a church member, and to seek the peace and prosperity of the church, and to consecrate himself to the cause and work of God.
- The committee should make a full report of the case; if they cannot obtain all the information they desire in one week, let them report that fact on the coming Sabbath, and ask to be continued.
- Let the applicant appear before the congregation and state distinctly his desire and determination, and such points in his experience as he may see fit.
- Open the way for inquiries by the officers or members of the church; as far as possible bring all to feel that it is a matter in which each has a deep interest.
- All members should be received by a rising vote.
- Let the officiating officer, or pastor, or elder of the church, in behalf of the church, give to the applicant the right hand of fellowship. At the close of the meeting it would be in place for the members, or at least some of them, to meet the newly received one with words of welcome and congratulation.
- Avoid all appearance of parade or formal show.
Enjoy, and stay tuned for the next part of the series!
The Church, No. 12