The kingdom of God cannot grow and flourish without farewells. The Lord commanded us to preach the gospel to every creature, and this cannot happen unless some people are called to go away when we would prefer that they stay.
“And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship” (Acts 20:36–38).
This is a natural function of growth. This even occurs when a congregation has to move to two services. In a town the size of ours, you might easily find yourself closer to someone who is a member of another church than to someone who is a member of your own congregation but who attends a different service.
So even though we are particularizing this congregation today, we are doing this in a community that remains tightly knit, and we have every intention of keeping it that way. Our approach to this has been purposive and deliberate, as we seek to follow the apostolic injunction to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. We have wanted to work at establishing the right kind of distinction between congregations, while at the same time laboring to prevent the wrong kind of differentiation.
In case you are wondering, as you ought to be wondering, the right kind of distinction has to do with personality, gifts, particular tasks and missions, along with the organic relationships that naturally develop over time. The wrong kind of differentiation has to do with competition, comparisons, vainglory, conceit, and self-willed dogmatism. We see both patterns on display in the pages of the New Testament, and we are commanded in no uncertain terms to avoid the one and pursue the other.
We must avoid the idea that different churches are simply distinct franchise locations, where the same product is sold, like we were so many Coca Cola bottling plants that all use the same formula. But we also must avoid the differentiation that wants to answer the work of a faithful vintner with that of someone distributing packets of grape Kool-Aid. We are all laborers in the same vineyard still. The owner of the vineyard is our Lord Jesus, the grapes are all of the free grace variety, and the only thing that should distinguish us is the terroir.
With all of this in mind, we commit you to the grace of our God and Father, and the peace of our Lord Jesus.
If you have made King’s Cross membership arrangements with your elders, I would like to invite you to stand in order to take your membership vows together. Please respond to each question with yes, and amen.
Do you acknowledge yourself to be a sinner in need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ? Yes, and amen.
Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting and resting upon Him alone, as He is offered in the gospel? Yes, and amen.
Have you been baptized in accordance with His word? Yes, and amen.
Do you now resolve, in humble reliance upon divine grace, that you will endeavor to live as becomes a follower of Christ? Yes, and amen.
Do you promise to support this church in its worship and work? Yes, and amen.
This next question refers to the government of King’s Cross, and by your response you are submitting yourselves to the oversight of your elders, meaning Toby Sumpter as pastor, Ty Knight and Jesse Sumpter as elders, and as pro tem elders, Ben Merkle, Matt Meyer, and Douglas Wilson. In addition, you are also submitting to the ministry of your deacons, Brian Points, Josh Pereyda, James Prado, Nethaniel Ealy, Stephen Grammer, and Gabriel Rench.
Do you promise to submit yourself to the government and discipline of this church, pursuing its purity and peace? Yes, and amen.
And as appropriate, are you speaking on behalf of your household? Yes, and amen.
We rejoice in how God has determined to grow His church, and so in accordance with the principles set down in His Word, in conformity with the blessing given to us by Knox Presbytery, and by the authority of the session of Christ Church, we hereby constitute you as a sister congregation in the Lord, and your name is King’s Cross. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, amen.
Let us pray.
Our Father and God, we rejoice in the gift of new life that You have promised to us in the gospel, and we rejoice in the fact that this new life grows and spreads throughout the entire world by means of congregations that proclaim, embody, and communicate this new life to others, as Your Spirit empowers. We thank You for the establishment of King’s Cross this day, and we pray for Your rich benediction to descend upon them, blessing all their endeavors, growing them up into the perfect man. We dare to ask for something like this because we have been invited to pray in the strong name of Jesus, which we are now doing, and amen.