We are thrilled to see you visiting Louisville Bible Fellowship. As you continue to visit
the asssembly, you will probably notice that some things are done differently from other churches you may have attended in
the past. Perhaps you have heard someone here speaking about someone being " received into fellowship in the assembly."
We want to explain what we mean by this.
The Scripture instructs us to receive one
another in the same way that Christ received us (Romans 15:7), and Paul goes on to exhort his readers to receive into their
fellowship a sister who is traveling to their area on business (Romans 16:1-2). Many Bible passages describe the responsibilities
and privileges of fellowship (e.g. Hebrews 13:17; James 5:14). It is the responsibility of the elders to distinguish
between people who merely wish to visit the assembly, and those who are considered in fellowship in the assembly who enjoy
all the priviledges and responsibilities of fellowship.
Anyone who would like
to be received into fellowship at Louisville Bible Fellowship should understand that being in fellowship is not "church
membership." According to the Bible, membership in the church begins automatically when one is "born again," and
always refers to one's place in the whole body of Christ. It has nothing to do with church membership as a legal
term giving a place in a corporation, with voting rights etc., as often used in churches in our country today.
Fellowship in the assembly by contrast, has no legal implications whatsoever. It is a spiritual matter of grace whereby
the person desires to be under the watchful care and accountability of the elders to God, and agrees to live in peace with
brothers and sisters in the fellowship. All believers should know that while leaders at Louisville Bible Fellowship are always
happy to examine our beliefs and practices in the light of Scripture, those things that may seem new, such as the absence
of an official "Pastor," the plurality of elders, the honoring of Biblical teaching about the different roles of
men and women, the order in worship, etc. are not held because of convenience or tradition, but are matters of conviction
from the Scriptures. Those in fellowship are expected to accept these things, and refrain from sowing discord within the church.
We do understand that some may not agree, and may be happier in gatherings where traditional church practices are observed.
If you wish to come on a regular basis as a visitor, and not be in fellowship
with us, this is fine. This may be because you need some time to search the Scriptures concerning our beliefs and practices.
We want you to take as much time as you need. Fellowship is a two way street. Not only does the assembly receive
you, but you must be willing to receive the assembly along with it's practices and teachings. We want you to believe
that we are a Scriptural church so that you may "report that God is in you (the assembly) of a truth." 1Co 14:25.
While coming as a visitor, there will be no pressure put upon you to participate in any way that you may not understand or
be comfortable with. This also means that there would be no expectation that you take of the emblems during
the Lord's Supper, since this would be only for those in fellowhip in the assembly. However, we encourage you to come,
watch, learn, and enjoy this meeting as with all other meetings of the assembly.
the time comes that you desire to be received into fellowship by the assembly, please speak to an elder and they will set
up a meeting to speak to you about your reception into the assembly. That's a good time for questions and answers. The
elders would ask you questions about your salvation, your baptism, your walk with the Lord, and your interest in
the assembly. At the next meeting, they would then announce to the assembly your desire to be in fellowship with
us and recommend you being received into the fellowship. Priviledges and responsibilities in the assembly
would then be yours to enjoy.
If you have been in fellowship with another like-minded assembly
somewhere else, then you could have the elders there send us a letter of recommendation, or you could give us a phone number
of one of the elders there that we may call. Or, as mentioned above, you can just request a private meeting with the
elders here and speak to them about your desire of being in fellowship with us. This meeting would be brief and
could take place right after the Sunday morning meetings.
In the future, if you ever must leave the fellowship,
please let us know in advance so that we may pray for you and make the transition to your new church home a happy one and
a pleasing testimony to the Lord. We desire that both reception into fellowship and leaving the fellowship (should you ever
find it necessary) be handled in a Christ honoring manner.