Membership Resource Guide

I was born in the church. I was raised in the church.

I have seen its faults and failures – as any living and breathing organization led by humans is bound to have. Yet, I have discovered the power in belonging to a life-giving community. I have experienced the wounds, but I have also found deep healing.

With all its shortcomings, I have come to realize there is nothing on earth like the local church. When the church full of the Holy Spirit moves into a city, carrying with her the person and the message of Jesus, reconciliation abounds, renewal is born, and the harvest is ripe for the revival of the human soul.

I believe in the church. I believe the local church is the hope for the world.

In all my years in the church, I have wrestled for clarity, fought cynicism, as well as questioned methods and injustices, but I have yet to find any rival to the church in human society today or throughout history. I wasn’t simply raised in the church. Rather, I was and am still being raised in the church. I was raised by strangers who became family. I was taught the Scriptures by faithful members who spoke words of life into me. I was challenged by sound teaching from the platform and from across the table. I have been encouraged, admonished, equipped and, above all, blessed by men and women whose names will never be celebrated by popular culture. Yet, it was their faithfulness that shaped me into who I am and who I am becoming today.

My hope does not rest in the church’s unreached potential. My hope is anchored in the promise that between now and eternity, the church is the only thing that Christ Jesus Himself is building, and if this is what He is building, then this is what we must give our lives to.

“I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 

Matthew 16:18b-19

Jesus is building His church. Jesus is the architect, the cornerstone, the builder, the financier, and the finisher of the church. You may be asking, “Is this in the end all about the church?” No. The church in history, the church globally and the church locally is now and always not about herself but about Jesus. This church is about Jesus and His Kingdom.

The central message of Jesus was not to create a non-profit organization. His message was not to create individual followers of Him who exist autonomously. His message was not that He came to give people their one-way ticket to heaven. The central message of Jesus was the arrival of His Kingdom on earth.

Matthew 4:17; 23 “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.  

Mark 1:14b-15 “Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;e repent and believe in the gospel.’”

Luke 4:43 “ but he said to them, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.’” 

The Kingdom of God is the greatest treasure to enter the human story. The Kingdom of God is the rule and reign of God and carries within itself the power to transform each person into the likeness of Christ – redeeming their ravaged soul into the image for which they were created. The Kingdom of God – in its message and its implementation – heals the sick, cares for the poor, loves the marginalized, brings justice to the hurting and reconciles sinful and broken humans back to their Creator God. The way God chose His Kingdom to be advanced was in and through the local church.

That is why I hope in the church and believe the church is the hope for the world – because Jesus chose the church to be His plan of redemption for the world. This is God’s plan – His only plan.

What then is the church? The church is the embassy of the Kingdom of God on earth. We do not function under our own authority, and we are most certainly not advancing our own agenda or kingdoms. The church has always been and continues to be the manifest presence of heaven on earth. As a result, we live under the authority of Christ and live to make His Kingdom known in our lives, families, neighborhoods, and city. The church is:

  • The authority on earth instituted by Jesus to give shape and affirm the lives of God’s people.
  • The influence in society to bring the comprehensive rule of heaven into every sphere of life and culture.
  • The embodiment of the ministry of Jesus to make disciples of all nations until His return.

If this is what the church is, the next question to ask is, “Who is the church?” The church is those who gather as the disciples of Jesus. For too long in the modern west, we have used the church (primarily the gathering on Sunday morning) as the evangelistic tool to reach an unbelieving world. In other words, we have created worship experiences and services that convinced Christians that the church exists to reach “lost people” by executing well-curated experiences on Sunday mornings that won’t offend unbelievers but instead draw them into becoming a follower of Jesus. Inevitably, we have turned the gathering of God’s people into a crowd to be entertained, managed, and mobilized.

This is not who the church is. If this is true then, friends, the church in the most persecuted places of the world are failing because they do not live in societies where they are free to invite their unbelieving friends to church on Sunday for the pastor and the paid staff to put them in programs that will produce followers of Jesus.

While we acknowledge that we live in a context where we are free to invite anyone to gather in the church, the church is now and will always be the gathering of God’s people who are growing together as followers of Jesus. The church is:

  • The local, global, and historical expression of God’s people.
  • The fellowship of believers is shaped through biblical practices.
  • The intentional effort of disciples to become an inter-ethnic and inter-generational Christ-worshipping people.

This is the church. We are the church.

To my church family – I love Jesus with all my heart. I love our pastors, staff and leaders that God has brought together, and I love you. I love who God is calling us to be and I love who He is shaping us to become – a people who collectively seek to love God, love one another and our neighbors, and make disciples of all nations.

As we move together as “Citizens and saints and members in the household of God”, I want you to know that you matter. Your story matters. You belong here. You belong because those who belong to Jesus belong to those who belong to Jesus.

I pray that we collectively move closer to the unity of the Spirit – working tirelessly to spread far and wide the Kingdom of God. I pray that we choose daily to love one another in a way that makes the unbelieving world around us curious. I pray we live in the humility and truth of Christ Jesus. I pray the city is different because we are here. I pray that as we grow in what it means to be “Made Alive in Christ”, we experience the power and the presence of Christ Jesus here and now.  Finally, I pray we walk in the love of God the Father, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

In Christ,

Nirup Alphonse

Vision

To See People Made Alive In Christ

The good news of the Gospel is not that Jesus came to make bad people good but to make dead people alive. The vision of LIFEGATE is to see people come to life in Christ Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit working in them. Our desire is to awaken people to the Made Alive Life.

The Made Alive Life is built on a simple framework that moves each person and the collective congregation toward the transformation of Christ Jesus. The Made Alive Life is a life built on this framework:

Encounter God | Experience Freedom | Embrace The Way | Empowered To Serve | Engage The Mission 

Sub-heading 2: Mission

The mission of LIFEGATE is to reach 1% of the Denver metro area by starting new congregations with our unique expression of faith. We believe God has called us to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom of God both in its ethos and ethic to the city of Denver. We hope to establish Kingdom embassies located strategically across the metro area to see 1% of the population made alive in Christ.

Values

  1. The Way Of Jesus– LIFEGATE fully embraces that to be a Christian is to embrace the Way of Jesus. Our highest value is the PERSON (life, death, burial, and resurrection) Jesus Christ as the all-sufficient Savior and Lord of all people. We value the PRESENCE of the Father to whom glory, and honor, is due. We value the POWER of the promised Holy Spirit given to each believer to guide them in all truth and grace to live out the Christian life.As such, we value the weekly Gathering of God’s people. Here we hold fast to the authority, inerrancy, and inspired Word of God as we live under its instruction. We believe the Word of God must be taught accurately and honestly as it has the power to both shape and affirm the Christian life. In addition, we value worship and prayer both in the life of the individual and the congregation as this is the language of our faith.Finally, as we gather weekly, we believe God has called us to intentionally work to become an inter-ethnic and inter-generational church which is reflected in the way we craft our gatherings. This is anchored in our practice of the sacraments from weekly corporate confession, the partaking of communion, baptism, and prayer.
  2. Formation Of Believers– LIFEGATE is committed to cultivating an atmosphere where people are individually and communally formed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. We value the church’s role in formation, which is to gather, equip and care for people who are a part of this community. Therefore, we value church membership and the priesthood of all believers. This posture empowers those in the church to live in the responsibility of both their formation and the formation of others in the church.While the call to discipleship to the Lord Jesus has been the great commission for two thousand years, we believe each generation must work to innovate and implement this mission in their given context without diluting the message of Christ. We value our formation and strive to see all people live in the framework of the Christian life in their lives, their Christian fellowship and the church as a whole.
  3. Pillars of Membership –These are five distinct practices taught in Romans 12:9-13. These five practices are not legalistic standards for good church membership. Rather, they are given by God for all believers to live out the Christian life, which is to love God, love our neighbors, and make disciples. In all things, these practices must be anchored in genuine love, which is both the posture and practice to seek the highest good of one another.

Presence – We value the physical, spiritual, relational, presence with one another in the congregation, home, and life.

Prayer – We value prayer, not as something the church does, but as who we are. We call the church to gather corporately and in homes for weekly prayer.

Serve – We value the posture of Christ who came as a humble servant. As such we value serving both in the church, our neighborhoods, and our city.

Generosity – We value generosity with our financial resources. We believe that tithing is an act of obedience and worship. The life of a believer should be marked with radical generosity to the church, those in the church, to the poor, to the city, and to the world.

Hospitality – We value hospitality as a central practice of our faith. It is the primary way we cultivate the environment to build the church, redeem the dignity in all people and engage the mission of God.

We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, inerrant, authoritative Word of God.

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

We Believe salvation is available through Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness and can be received by faith alone.

We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.

We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ which can be experienced in the Church.

A Pathway of Becoming

The goal of the church is not simply to gather for the sake of gathering but to be formed into the image of Christ. With two simple words, “follow me,” Jesus invites us into a life of learning from Him and walking with Him – this is discipleship. Discipleship is simply learning to live like and with Jesus.

Being “made alive in Christ,” is therefore a life of practicing the way of Jesus. At LIFEGATE, we are not satisfied with only gathering on Sunday mornings or Wednesday evening. We place a high value on gathering, but we believe God has called us to work together to see the image of Christ formed in every person God has called us to lead and pastor.

Galatians 4:19

my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!

Ephesians 4:13

until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ

This formation is not something that happens overnight. It is the result of walking a long journey of faith with the people of God in the local church. This formation, then, is rather a transformation. God desires to transform you into the likeness of His Son Jesus.

Spiritual formation cannot happen in isolation. It is the result of being faithfully and intimately connected to God and the church. We believe that all three elements are necessary to experience God’s transformative work in your life. Though God is the sole agent of transformation, He has designed transformation to happen as you practice your faith in your life and in your local church.

GOD | AGENT OF TRANSFORMATION

God has called you into a life of transformation that can only come from Him. God is the source of:

TRUTH | John 1:1-5

GRACE | John 1:14, 16-7

POWER | Romans 5:13

THE CHURCH | THE COMMUNITY FOR TRANSFORMATION

God has called you into active participation in the church as disciples of Jesus. LIFEGATE’s role is to:

GATHER | Acts 2:42;46-47

CARE | John 21:15-17

EQUIP | Ephesians 4:11-12

YOU | THE APPRENTICE OF JESUS

God has called you into the joy of following Jesus through the Holy Spirit as you:

WALK THE WAY OF JESUS | John 13:15

CREATE FELLOWSHIP | Hebrews 10:24-25

MAKE DISCIPLES | Matthew 28:19-20

Why is membership important?

If the local church is the embassy of God’s Kingdom on earth, then membership is both the declaration of Kingdom citizenship and the expression of that citizenship. When a person chooses to follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior, they are immediately given a new identity as a “saint” in Christ, a “citizen” of Christ’s Kingdom, and are subsequently called to be “members in the household of God.” 

Romans 12:4-5  “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

Ephesians 2:19-22 “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

1 Peter 2:5 “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 12:12 “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”

A Christian, if we are to be faithful to our calling, must choose and commit to a local church where faith is expressed. Both the church and individual called to the church must take mutual responsibility for their holistic growth in Christ.

Church membership an intentional desire to be covenanted to a local church. It is the:

  • The willing submission to the Lord of Christ and the leadership of the church.
  • The active participation in the formation of self and others through biblical practices and disciplines.
  • The stewardship of gifts of the Holy Spirit to love and care for one another and humbly defend the unity of the church.

What is required of a member?

Becoming a member of a local church requires understanding both who you are committing to and what you are committing to. As you consider becoming a member of LIFEGATE, make sure that you take time to review the History, Vision, Mission, and Values outlined in this document as it will help you understand who LIFEGATE is. In addition to this, review the Pillar Practices of Presence, Service, Prayer, Generosity, and Hospitality. This will provide the necessary information about what the membership commitment looks like.

What is your commitment?

What is the covenant?

To submit to the authority of the Scriptures (Ps. 119; 2 Tim. 3:14–17; 2 Pet. 1:19–21).

This sets us apart from everyone else in the world—we have a unified faith in the word of God and how it captures and presents the life of Jesus. We are committing to being the type of people that we say that we will be—those who live in accordance with the Scriptures. If the Bible leads us to live in a certain way, we will do that because they are authoritative in our lives, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and filled with the truth.

To pursue the Lord Jesus Christ through regular Bible reading, prayer, fellowship and practicing of spiritual disciplines (Luke 18:1; Acts 17:11; 1 Cor. 9:24– 27; Eph. 5:1–21; 1 Thess. 5:12–22).

The life of a disciple must include practicing the way of Jesus. This is a part of experiencing the fullness of life with Christ that the church has practiced for 2000 years. As the church, we will teach and lead what this looks like and as members, we will practice and live this out.

To follow the command and example of Jesus by taking the step of baptism before my church community after conversion and participating in regular communion with the church.

Baptism does not save our souls, but Jesus submits to this practice to fulfill all righteousness. It is a marker that we are entering into a community, and in and of itself, its own form of membership into God’s global, historical, and local church. This is a mutual commitment between the believer and the church.

To practice presence in weekly gatherings, gospel-centered formation, communal prayer, and acts of hospitality (Acts 2:42–47; Heb. 10:23–25; Titus 3:14).

This requires a reorientation of our lives to be present with individuals and the body. We prioritize an order in our lives that promotes physically, emotionally, and spiritually showing up to the gathering of God’s people and in the lives of others.

To intentional seek to help build a multi-ethnic and multi-generational community that will be both active in the church and in the world as agents of the Kingdom. (Acts 2:42-47; Matthew 28:18-20

We must ask the question, “Am I present with people who are different than I am?” This is a commitment to make an intentional effort to practice presence with people who are different than you are.

To be active in God’s commandment to love God, love my neighbor as myself, and to be active in the great commission to make disciples of all nations.

As dicisples, we covenant both to the community and to bringing this community into the world. We are called to bring people into the family of God. The practice of this is walking with people toward Jesus both in moments and over a lifetime.

To steward the resources God has given me, including time, talents, spiritual gifts and finances. This includes regular tithing and offering, service and participation in community that is sacrificial, cheerful and voluntary (Matt. 25:14–30; Rom. 12:1–2; 2 Cor. 8–9; 1 Pet. 4:10–11).

The purpose for this is twofold. First, we are living out an individual calling to worship the Lord and trust him completely. In this, we experience the fullness of life with Jesus. In addition to this, we have a communal vision for the church. Our regular tithes develop a muscle of generosity that allow us to help the body when needs arise. We can support one another through practicing generosity.

To strive through the power of the Holy Spirit to walk in holiness in all areas of life as an act of worship to Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:13–16, 4:1–3).

The call to the Christian is to look like and be like Christ. We do this practically in how we live out our faith and internally as we strive to have the mind of Christ. This a part of the transformative process of our sanctification, not simply a modification of our behavior.

To take seriously the responsibility of Christian freedom, especially actions or situations that could present a stumbling block to another (1 Cor. 8:1–13).

As we live, are the things that we do edifying to the body and glorifying to God? We live in ways that represent the bride of Christ. At times this looks like practicing restraint in order to guard the reputation of Christ.

To submit to the discipline of God through His Holy Spirit by receiving righteous and loving correction, that is aimed at repentance and restoration when approached biblically by fellow believers or the church. (Ps. 141:5; Matt. 18:15–20; 1 Cor. 5:9–13; Heb. 12:5–11).

Discipline is loving, if approached in kindness, humility, and truth. We are called to unity within the body and discipline is aimed at restoring relationship with God and others. It is an intimate practice designed to include only people who are able to help bring about restoration.

To practice biblical accountability when I have an issue, grievance, hurt or frustration with anyone in the body of Christ including the pastors/ elders, staff or other leaders. This means I will,

-avoid speaking with gossip, slander or judgement

-present my grievance to the person(s) responsible and follow the guidelines of Matthew 18

-willingly participate in the process of reconciliation in the hopes that the party that caused the grievance would confess, repent and work towards biblical reconciliation

We understand that this is how we should engage in conflict with other people. We acknowledge that gossip and unresolved grievances will damage familial relationship, and we will treat this body of believers as a family. We will practice healthy and biblical conflict resolution.

To practice confession (to God and others), repentance, and seeking help when a sin has been committed (Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5; James 5:16; 1 John 1:6–10).

The enemy desires to keep things in the darkness. Confession brings to light that which is broken. We posture ourselves humbly to create an environment where confession and repentance are a regular practice for the believer.

To strive for unity and peace within the church through submission to Christ first and then to pastors/elders and other appointed leaders of the church.(Eph 4:1-3; Heb 13:17; 1 Pet 5:5)

Ultimately, we say that we are submitting to Christ through his Word, his Spirit, and his appointed leaders within the church. There is mutual submission where believers are submitted to one another.

To hold the pastors/elders (those responsible for the handling of God’s Word and the stewardship of the church’s resources) accountable to the biblical standards of their role.

The privilege of being a part of the family of God. Every member has a role in shaping the way that we live and function as a family.

To notify a pastor or staff member if I am leaving LIFEGATE before the committed time and to seek another church where I can carry out the biblical responsibilities of a believer.

There are legitimate reasons to move on from a church community. It is the desire of this body to bless and affirm these decisions. If we are practicing all of the above commitments, this decision will be made based on good decisions.

I am intentionally making the decision to be a covenant member of LIFEGATE Church for the remainder of the calendar year.

I COVENANT…

  • To submit to the authority of Christ revealed in the inspired, inherent, and authoritative Scriptures. (Psalm 119, 2 Timothy 3:14–17, 2 Peter 1:19–21)
  • To pursue the Lord Jesus Christ through regular Bible reading, prayer, fellowship and practicing of spiritual disciplines. (Luke 18:1, Acts 17:11, 1 Corinthians 9:24– 27, Ephesians 5:1–21, 1 Thessalonians 5:12–22)
  • To follow the command and example of Jesus by taking the step of believers baptism, if not already baptized of one’s own decision.
  • To practice presence in weekly gatherings, gospel-centered formation, communal prayer, and acts of hospitality. (Acts 2:42–47, Hebrews 10:23–25, Titus 3:14)
  • To intentionally seek to build an inter-ethnic, inter-generational, and Gospel-centered community. (Acts 2:42-47, Matthew 28:18-20)
  • To be active in God’s commandment to love God, love my neighbor as myself, and be active in the great commission to make disciples of all nations.
  • To steward the resources God has given me, including time, talents, spiritual gifts, and finances. This includes practicing the 10% tithe and engaging in service that is cheerful, sacrificial, and voluntary. (Matthew 25:14–30, Romans 12:1–2, 2 Corinthians 8–9, 1 Peter 4:10–11)
  • To strive through the power of the Holy Spirit to walk in holiness in all areas of life as an act of worship to Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13–16, 4:1–3)
  • To take seriously the responsibility of Christian freedom, especially actions or situations that could present a stumbling block to another. (1 Corinthians 8:1–13)
  • To submit to the discipline of God through His Holy Spirit by receiving righteous and loving correction, that is aimed at repentance and restoration when approached biblically by fellow believers or the church. (Psalm 141:5, Matthew 18:15–20, 1 Corinthians 5:9–13, Hebrews 12:5–11)
  • To practice biblical accountability when I have an issue, grievance, hurt, or frustration with anyone in the body of Christ including the pastors/ elders, staff, or other leaders. This means I will:
    • Avoid speaking with gossip, slander, or judgment
    • Present my grievance to the person(s) responsible and follow the guidelines of  Matthew 18
    • Willingly participate in the process of reconciliation in the hopes that the party  that caused the grievance would confess, repent and work toward biblical reconciliation
  • To practice confession (to God and others), repentance, and seeking help when a sin has been committed. (Romans 8:13, Colossians 3:5, James 5:16, 1 John 1:6–10)
  • To strive for unity and peace within the church through submission to Christ first and then to pastors/elders and other appointed leaders of the church. (Ephesians 4:1-3, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5:5)
  • To hold the pastors/elders (those responsible for the handling of God’s Word and the stewardship of the church’s resources) accountable to the biblical standards of their role.
  • To notify a pastor or staff member if I am leaving LIFEGATE before the committed time and to seek another church where I can carry out the biblical responsibilities of a believer.

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