A gospel-centered church in Austin, Texas

Membership at Providence

Depending on your background, church membership could mean a variety of things to you. To some, it sounds exclusive. Others have experienced it as virtually meaningless. Far from elite or pointless, membership is an opportunity for any Christian to partner with others in a particular mission, to receive spiritual protection and care, and to grow in grace through instruction and accountability. If this is your desire, then your task is to discern if God is calling you into the community and mission of Providence Church. We have designed a membership process to help you do just that, which is outlined in the steps below:

1. Connect

  • Attend our gathered worship on Sundays. Just as God sends us into our culture to live out the gospel in daily life, he also calls us together to renew our commitment to him and to his people. We do this through worship, word, and sacrament. Gathered worship is a vital part of the life and mission of Providence.
  • Join a Gospel Community. Our Gospel Communities (GC) are meant to help Providence Church members be formed spiritually (i.e. grow in Christ) and live out community and mission together. GCs meet regularly for vision, prayer, study, fellowship, care, and accountability. In an ongoing way, GCs are doing life together, pursuing intentional mission together, and serving the church alongside one another.
  • Sign up to receive a weekly email from our pastors.

2. Learn

We provide a quarterly membership process whereby those who are connected to and call this community their "home" can learn more about Providence and become members. The entire membership process takes about 6 weeks—it is not a formality, but is designed to foster spiritual growth. It focuses on becoming more familiar with the theology, vision, direction, values, leadership, and ministry philosophy of Providence Church. You will also have a chance to reflect upon and write your conversion story, engage with others going through the membership process, and meet with one of the pastors and/or deacons. All this will allow us to know you better and rejoice with you in how God has called you to Himself and led you.

3. Commit

Providence members share in their commitment to the church by agreeing to our membership covenant and joyfully living in community, serving the church, and giving faithfully. Read more by looking at our membership covenant, which every member commits to and signs at the end of the membership process.

Membership FAQ

Why does Providence have "members"?

In the New Testament, the nature of the church is consistently likened to the members of a family and the members of a body. It's a beautiful illustration of our interdependence. We all have different gifts, we're created to serve different functions, we need everyone in order to be a healthy body, and all of us find purpose and unity under Jesus, who is "the head of the body, the church" (Col. 1:18). The consistent calling of the church is to maturity and mission. Thus, both in its nature and calling, the church requires the formal commitment of people ("members") to one another.

What's the difference between a member and someone who just goes to Providence?

In the same way that God has bound himself to his people, our members have formally bound themselves (in member covenant) to Providence and its mission. Providence members understand that they need to be cared for and protected, but also that they need to be led, to be fully known, and to be held accountable in life. Members take a greater level of stewardship of our church family: Giving of their time, talents, and treasure; committing to the care and community of their fellow members; and submitting to the leadership God has given our congregation. In short, the difference between a member and a non-member is that members have committed themselves to "living on mission" with God through the particular community of Providence church.

What does Providence mean by "living on mission"?

Christians living on mission are not only growing in their love for Jesus, but are also embodying the Providence mission statement of cultivating the work of God's grace to redeem people, renew culture, and reproduce gospel communities. This includes the deliberate practice of two simple rhythms as a way of expressing the gospel in our daily lives: living out (by loving, blessing, serving neighbors, listening to skeptics, giving generously, working for justice, etc.) and inviting in (by practicing hospitality, gathering together, and living in repentance and faith, etc.).

Why should I become a member?

Membership protects us from just being spectators or consumers of what the church is doing. Instead, we become stewards (we say, "This is our church … we've been entrusted with the vision, the mission, the direction, the problems and challenges, the health of the community, etc."). Membership also protects us from being autonomous or anonymous in our walk with God. Instead, we intentionally make ourselves accountable to one another (we acknowledge that we need others speaking into our lives, helping us along the way, encouraging, exhorting, rebuking when necessary. We can't fly solo. We need to be tethered to a community).

What is a "member covenant"?

The Membership covenant is a biblical way of defining the expectations and responsibilities that God has for His people. It clarifies what we do and do not believe, what we are and are not about, and what sort of lifestyle we will hold each other accountable to. It helps us understand the gravity of what we are doing and guards us against partiality (James 2:1) by ensuring that everyone in Membership is held to the same standards of discipleship, obedience, and commitment. To covenant together means that we formally commit ourselves to the truth of the gospel, to the spiritual vitality and mission of this particular community, and to the care, accountability, discipline, and direction of its leaders, who will give account to Jesus for their work (Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:17; 1 Cor. 5:11-13).

What do I have to believe to be a member?

A Providence member must believe in the foundational doctrines of Christianity: a holy and sovereign creator who exists as one God in three persons, a fallen and sinful humanity, the deity of Christ, the sufficiency of his death on the cross, and his bodily resurrection which secures our resurrection. To believe in these things is to submit to Jesus as Lord and Savior.

For the full doctrinal standard of our church, Providence has adopted the Gospel Coalition's confessional statement. While members are not required to be convinced of everything in it, you must agree not to be divisive toward its teaching.

Do members have to be baptized?

Yes. Baptism is God's gift to us, a visible sign of the invisible work of his grace. Baptism is a sign and seal of our union with Christ (Rom. 6:3-4), our initiation into God's family (1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 2:11-12), and our cleansing from the guilt and defilement of sin (Eph. 5:25-27; Ezek. 36:25-26). At Providence, we practice credo-baptism, meaning we baptize believers upon their profession of faith in Jesus. However, if you were baptized as an infant, you would not be required to be re-baptized in order to become a member of Providence. If you have more questions about baptism specifically, please speak with one of the pastors.