Questions about Membership?

We are glad you are considering membership at Grace Fellowship! This section contains answers to many of the questions you might have about Grace Fellowship and church membership. If you have questions, we hope this section will help!

What is the "Church"?

Matthew 16:18 (NKJV) “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

Jesus is building His church. What is the church? First, we must understand what the church is NOT. The church is NOT a building although the church normally meets in a building. The church is NOT an informal gathering of believers for fellowship although Christians enjoy fellowship in the church. The church is NOT a benevolence ministry although people often receive help in a time of crisis. The church is NOT an organization although churches are organized to fulfill their purpose. The church is NOT a denomination although some churches belong to a denomination.

What is the church? The church is God’s covenant community of faith. This community of faith consists of those who believe 1) that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, 2) that He died on the Cross to save sinners, and 3) that Jesus rose from the dead. Their faith is evidenced by their willingness to be identified with Him in water baptism and to follow Him as Lord.
The church is both universal and local. The church is universal in its existence and local in its expression. The church is universal in the sense that it spans to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people and to every age of redemptive history. The church is recognized in this world by its local assembly, leadership, membership, message, ministry, and mission. The local church is led by Christ through His appointed pastors and elders. It is a recognized place in a community where the truth of the gospel of Christ is preached, taught, and defended. It is a body of believers in which every member has a specific place, gifting, value, and function for the building up of the church. It is an expression of God’s family where members are regarded as brothers and sisters in Christ. It is an expression of God’s kingdom community in which new converts are baptized, added to the family, and are discipled to follow Christ. It is the place where Christian leaders are proven and commissioned to Christian service. Christ has commissioned His church to preach the gospel throughout the world, plant local churches where believers are found, and disciple those who believe.

What is Non-Denominational?

Jesus is building one Church. However, churches often associate together in “denominations” such as Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc. Grace Fellowship is a non-denominational church, meaning that, while it works alongside other Christian churches, it is not connected to any denomination. There are many varieties of non-denominational churches with different beliefs, practices, and forms of church government. You can find out more about Grace Fellowship by reviewing our Constitution and By-Laws.

History of Grace Fellowship

Grace Fellowship is a non-denominational Spirit-filled church in Rusk, Texas. The church was birthed on Sunday, December 1, 1985 in a storefront building on 105 W. 2nd Street. The church began with a passionate vision for revival, restoration, and spiritual awakening. Land for the new location at 2904 Loop 343 West was purchased in 1993 and was dedicated on July 4, 1993. Groundbreaking for the new building was held on Sunday, October 15, 1995 followed by the pouring of the church foundation in November. The first service in the new building was held on Easter Sunday, April 7, 1996 and the church was completed and dedicated on Sunday, March 9, 1997. Grace Fellowship has been noted for its emphasis on prayer, worship, discipleship, teaching, leadership development, and ministry to the lost and hurting. It’s ministry to children and youth have made the church a “family friendly” place. The church continues to be an important influence and catalyst for revival and restoration in the region while being committed to fulfilling the Great Commission through its involvement and support of missions.

Why Church Membership?

Acts 2:47 (NKJV) “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

Good question! If every believer is a part of the universal church, why should they be a member in a local church? Membership makes the universal church visible and tangible in its expression. It identifies and connects members to the local church, Christ’s kingdom community of faith. There is no New Testament precedent for Christians to live out their faith independently from the church. The Parable of the Lost Sheep reveals that Jesus searches out individual sheep and brings them back to the fold of His church.[1]

On a practical level, membership lets the Pastor and Elders know who wants to be identified with the church and who are willing to be included in the pastoral care of the church. It lets the church family know who is committed to the church for the sake of Christian service. Members receive communication, access, privilege, opportunities to serve, and care on a level that visitors do not. Faithful membership allows people the best opportunity to grow in Christ. Just as a plant must be firmly rooted and grounded to bear fruit, so believers must be firmly planted in the soil of Christian community to bear good fruit. The church is God’s kingdom environment through which future leaders and ministers can be proven, confirmed, and sent forth. The New Testament pattern is for ministers to be accountable to their sending church. Accountability is important in the development of healthy Christian ministry in the church and in the kingdom of God.

Statement of Faith

Check out "What We Believe" HERE

How Do I Become a Member?

Membership at Grace Fellowship is easy!
Pray and ask God if Grace Fellowship is the right church for you and your family.

Please request a copy of the “Membership Form” at the church or print one out using the Membership Form button below. The Membership form gives us essential information for our membership records and contact purposes.

Please fill out the “Family Spiritual Profile” included in the Membership Form. This updates us on your family’s spiritual history and information that you think would be valuable for us to know.

Turn in your Membership Form to the Pastor or one of the Elders. Once it is received and approved, you will be entered into the church membership record and presented before the church to let your new church family know that you are officially part of the family!

How Do I Get Connected?

Acts 2:41–42 (NKJV) “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

Acts 2:46–47 (NKJV) “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

Hebrews 10:25 (NKJV) “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Membership is a great FIRST step in getting connected; building relationships is the SECOND step in getting connected. To “feel” connected, you must commit to building relationships. This is true for teens and children also. Begin to think like an insider and not like an outsider. Don’t be discouraged. It takes time to get to know people and for people to get to know you. Everyone is different and how they connect will be different also. Be aware that you may not feel a strong “connection” to certain people as you may to others. That is okay. It is normal. Connect with one or two and other connections will eventually form. Make a commitment to attend scheduled church services, activities, and fellowships where connections can be made. One of the best ways to build relationships is to get involved in serving. Serving in a ministry is like being on a team. People who volunteer to serve with others bond quicker. Take the initiative to volunteer to serve in a ministry or ask where opportunities are available. Feel free to invite others out to eat, to come to your house for a visit, or to meet somewhere to simply visit. Be involved in small groups and discipleship opportunities in the church where possible. Check out the “Get Connected!” page in this packet.

What about Salvation and Water Baptism?

The New Testament church consists of those who have responded to the gospel through repentance of sin, faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and a commitment to be His disciple. Therefore, non-Christians and participants in non-Christian religions cannot become members of the church.[2] Jesus commanded those who receive Him as their Lord and Savior to be baptized in water.[3] Jesus Himself was baptized as our example. The early church baptized new coverts.[4] Although we do dedicate infants, we do not believe infant baptism to be biblical baptism. Baptism in water in a non-Christian religion such as Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, etc., is not a biblical baptism. Biblical water baptism is performed by full immersion following a genuine conversion experience. [5] It is done in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit as Jesus commanded.[6] If you have not received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior followed by biblical water baptism, we ask that you agree to be baptized in water at the next available time.

Why Tithes and Offerings?

Malachi 3:8–12 (NKJV) “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field, says the LORD of hosts; 12 And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land, says the LORD of hosts.”

“Tithe” means “ten percent” and refers to the first ten percent of our increase or income. “Offerings” are above and beyond the tithe. Tithes and offerings are distinct from giving “alms” or performing “charitable deeds” which are done privately toward those in need.[7] The tithe is a covenant portion given to God as an act of worship that honors Him as Owner and Provider. The tithe belongs to God. Since God does not need the tithe in heaven, He ordained the tithe to meet the needs of His “house” on earth. In the New Testament, the church is God’s house.[8] It is His “temple”.[9] The giving of tithes to God predates the Law of Moses.[10] The High Priest over the house of God, the Lord Jesus Christ continues to receive tithes as a witness that He lives.[11]  Tithing requires faith in God. Faith understands that in God’s mathematics, ninety percent with His blessing equals more than a hundred percent with a curse. Withholding what belongs to God brings a curse upon the rest.[12] When we give to God the tithes and offerings that He has commanded, He responds by opening the windows of heaven to pour out His blessing so that makes up the difference and more.

Ask God for financial wisdom. Keep God first, cut back on unnecessary expenses, ask for direction in saving, spending, giving, and investing. Trust Him to supply your needs as you obey. Honoring God first is the key to coming out of any crisis. Many have testified of how God has supplied when they honored Him first. If you feel that you simply cannot tithe due to a crisis, there is no condemnation. Stay involved and stretch your faith to give what you can as you move toward the goal. If your financial situation is dire, please talk to your Pastor and Elders.

What about Marriage?

It is the church’s responsibility to encourage healthy marriages and families. Healthy marriages are built on a biblical foundation. We are committed to a biblical foundation for marriage and family. The Bible teaches that marriage is a legal covenant between one biological adult male and one biological adult female for life. The Bible does not teach or condone same sex marriage. Because marriage is a covenant, co-habitation or common law are not regarded as biblical marriage in the sight of God.[13] Divorce was never God’s intention. Unfortunately, we live in a broken world. We understand that divorce sometimes occurs. In such cases, we want to help redeem, heal, and restore the lives of those affected. Although cohabiting or common law couples are welcome in our services, membership requires that they be legally married. We stand ready to help unmarried couples pursue biblical and legal marriage. We also welcome single adults as normal, valuable, and important members of our church family.

Why a Constitution and By-Laws?

Every church has by-laws, whether they are written or unwritten. Grace Fellowship has a written Constitution and By-laws. A constitution and by-laws establish a written statement of the purpose, beliefs, form of government, requirements for membership, the duties of officers and their election, how decisions are made, how to exercise church discipline to protect the church from erring leaders and members, etc. As believers in Christ, we are in this world, but we are not of this world.[14] Although Christians ultimately live under the jurisdiction of the Word of God, we also live under the legal jurisdiction of the laws of our society.[15] In a court of law, the Bible is not regarded as a legal document. It cannot be used to defend a church’s beliefs or Scriptural position. However, when a Biblical position is set forth in their constitution and by-laws, that position is recognized as legal. If you would like to review our Constitution and By-Laws, simply click on the link below.

Got other Questions?

If you have questions that are not answered here, please feel free to call the church office at (903) 683-6550 or email your question. We look forward to helping you find the answers you need.


[1] Matthew 18:12

[2] At Grace Fellowship, children can be regarded as member under their parent’s membership until the age of 18 at which time they must join as an adult if they desire.

[3] Matthew 28:19-20

[4] Matthew 3:13-17; Luke 3:21-22;

[5] Acts 8:36-38

[6] Matthew 28:19-20. Baptism by immersion is the biblical means of water baptism.

[7] Matthew 6:1-4

[8] 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 10:21; 1 Peter 4:17

[9] 1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesian 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4-5

[10] Genesis 4:3-4; 14:18-20; 28:22

[11] Hebrews 7:8; 10:21

[12] Haggai 1:7-11

[13] John 4:16-18

[14] John 17:14-16

[15] Romans 13:1-7