Have you found a home at Wilshire? Are you ready to take the next step and become a member? We'd be delighted to welcome you formally into our community of faith.
Joining the church doesn't make you more spiritual than someone who attends or even participates in the life of the church without joining, but it does signal an important commitment on your part. It's a commitment to be part of the community of faith, to identify with Christ's church and give yourself fully to this outpost of the kingdom of God.
How to join
Wilshire accepts members who join the church in the following ways:
By profession of faith and baptism by immersion.
By reaffirmation of a previous profession of faith and Christian baptism.
When to join
Wilshire provides opportunities to join the church on Sunday mornings during the closing hymn or on Wednesdays at the fellowship meals. Or you may choose to join the church by turning in a new member card to the office or in the offering plate during worship. In the latter case you will be contacted by a minister who will counsel you about membership.
If you have any questions before joining, don't hesitate to contact George Mason, senior pastor, at (214) 452-3132.
After you join
Wilshire Welcome. This class for all adults is an ongoing four-week Sunday morning class to help inquirers and new members learn more about Wilshire. Wilshire Welcome meets from 9:40 to 10:45 a.m. in Room 1100-C, which is adjacent to McIver Chapel on the south end of the church. One Sunday teaches the history of the church and includes a tour of the facilities. One Sunday will explain the structure of the church, introduce you to the staff, committees, goals and vision of church. One Sunday will teach about Wilshire’s missions partners, opportunities for service and ways to get involved. One Sunday will be a coffee and conversation time with Senior Pastor George Mason. Contact Tiffany Wright, at 214-452-3107 for more information or that month's weekly schedule.
New members are also encouraged to attend a special one-time Connections class offered twice a year to learn more about becoming fully engaged as a Wilshire member.
More about baptism
Baptism is the public enactment of a person’s profession of faith in Jesus Christ. In baptism, a person identifies with the life, death, resurrection and continuing ministry of Jesus Christ. It is the first act of obedience of the Christian life, followed by a lifetime of commitment to do all things as Jesus would do. The water of baptism does not save. Baptism is an act of obedience to Jesus Christ and a public testimony of one's faith.
Baptists baptize by immersion; that is, a person is fully immersed in ordinary water at the hands of an already baptized member of the church—usually one of the ministers. Baptists stick with the baptismal mode of immersion, rather than “sprinkling” or “pouring,” because we believe it most clearly depicts genuine faith in God as taught in the New Testament. This is our normative practice. However, we realize other Christian traditions practice baptism differently, and we welcome into fellowship all who have professed faith in Christ and been baptized.
The believer humbles himself by putting on a simple robe, thereby disdaining any social status as a basis for salvation. Then one enters the waters and confesses that “Jesus is Lord,” this being the earliest known confession of faith. The person is then put under the water trusting completely in the faithfulness of the administrant to raise the person up. This symbolizes the death—drowning—of one’s sin and selfish strivings in the baptismal tomb. When the person is raised up again, it is a sign that God will give the person life again after death, just as Jesus was raised from the dead.
Baptists believe God is active in baptism, blessing and calling the Christian to faithful living. Baptism is an ordinance (from “order”), that stems from the order or command of Jesus to believe and be baptized. While the idea that God is involved and personally present in baptism is to be affirmed, Baptists guard against any ideas that may imply magic (“holy water” cleansing any sin) or give to the church or clergy power that belongs only to God, as if the right to grant salvation or deny it can be in any hands other than God’s.
Because we view baptism as a testimony of personal faith, Wilshire does not baptize infants or young children who are not capable of making their own choice to follow Christ. While infant baptism conveys well the sense that salvation is not dependent upon what we do but on what God has done for us, it fails to convey the full respect of God for human freedom. God does not force faith upon anyone. Since Wilshire does not practice infant baptism, infants and children are nurtured and encouraged in the faith until such age as the child can make a personal commitment. Instead, we involve the child, the parents, godparents, extended family and congregation in a service of dedication. This meaningful service of blessing and commitment is conducted during regular worship services.