When Jesus walked the earth He talked about belonging to a kingdom, a kingdom where entrance is gained through a relationship with Him. Jesus and His disciples used word pictures to give examples of what it means to belong: a member of a body, a sheep in a flock, the bride of a husband, and many others. These are illustrations of the Church of Jesus Christ, a universal body of believers. After Jesus resurrected, His Church grew as the apostles began preaching and teaching about Him. As believers were added, the apostles established regional or local bodies: the local church.
A local church is a community of believers structured and governed in accordance with New Testament principles and practices. It is a place where fellow believers meet regularly to worship and “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” (2 Peter 3:18), and where believers are established and strengthened in their faith. The New Testament speaks of the churches at Jerusalem, Corinth, Ephesus, Thessalonica, Antioch, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and others, all examples of communities that formed local churches.
The apostles’ writings gave instruction on the form of leadership these churches were to have, with ample evidence that local church leaders—pastors, elders and deacons—were to be recognized, challenged, trained, and publicly placed in areas of responsibility. Acts 20 speaks of their responsibilities as gatekeepers, feeding and guarding the flock, and establishing sound doctrine. As a Christian you have a place to belong. The Bible is clear on the benefits of belonging to a community of Christians, a local church: to learn and grow, worship, pray, fellowship, serve, while in submission to the leaders for spiritual guidance and discipline.
Learning about a church, its core beliefs and its customs and practices is a wise undertaking. A time of learning and growing together prior to making a commitment works well in any relationship, and we believe it works well for church membership too. At Bethesda we offer a catechism class for both youth and adults that introduces participants to the essentials of the Christian faith as we believe and practice these truths. We would like all who wish to become members of our local church to enroll in a class. Classes are offered throughout the year, and you are welcome to get involved and participate in activities and ministries immediately. You can learn more about catechism here