To become a communing member of a church in the PCA, The Book of Church Order requires individuals to profess faith in Christ, to be baptized and to be admitted to the Lord’s Table by the session of the congregation they are joining.
Each of us took vows when we joined the body at Pear Orchard Presbyterian. They are summarized below.
- I acknowledge that I am a sinner deserving judgment and without hope save God’s sovereign mercy.
- I believe in Jesus as the Son of God and the Savior of sinners, receiving and resting on Him alone for salvation as He is offered in the Gospel.
- I resolve and promise in humble reliance on divine grace, that I will endeavor to live as becomes a follower of Christ.
- I promise to support the Church in its worship and work.
- I submit to the government and discipline of the church and promise to promote her purity and her peace.
These membership requirements are a starting point for all who desire to lead in worship in any capacity from singing in a choir, to playing an instrument, to serving on the worship team. John Piper, in a series of talks entitled “Gravity and Gladness”, reminds us that the goal of anyone who leads in worship should be that they themselves are a worshipper. Someone may have a wonderful musical gift or be a polished performer, but these alone don’t produce a worship leader who pleases the Lord. In fact musical gifts and talents are not even mentioned by God as a requirement for those who worship Him. But John 4:24 declares, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth. For we know that man looks at the outward appearance or the outward gifts but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:8) As sinners who have received God’s sovereign mercy and who trust in Christ alone for salvation, our gifts can then be used by God in worship. As worship leaders, we are called to lead a life that becomes a follower of Christ. And if we are not walking in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, we are obligated to step down from our leadership position. The honor of Christ is at stake and we must undertake our leadership responsibilities with serious intent.
So often musicians tend to be drawn to worship because of love for the music, but we must be careful here. Our motivation to participate and/or lead in worship in any capacity must come from a desire to worship the living God alone. Yet, not until heaven will our motives be completely pure. Musicians like music and they like to make music. This is naturally appealing to us. We recognize that a pure motive to worship is a gift of the Holy Spirit. As worship leaders, we commit ourselves to self-examination, prayer and accountability as we continually seek to be worshippers motivated by our love for God and worship leaders who desire to encourage the body of Christ to worship the living God. We remember the third membership vow; we resolve and promise, in humble reliance on divine grace, to endeavor to live (and lead) as becomes a follower of Christ. And as we humbly rely on Him, He gives us opportunities to faithfully exercise our God-given gifts to support His church and promote her purity and peace.