Become a Member

All are welcome to worship and fellowship with us, whether you are a member of Sterling UMC or not.  We encourage your participation in our ministries, and we invite you to be a part of our congregation on whatever level you feel led.

For those wishing to forge a deeper connection with Sterling UMC, we invite you to consider membership in the church.  We believe you will find SUMC to be a congregation of warm and caring people with whom you can share the Christian journey.

Below you will find a little more information about the membership process and how to become a member.

  • The new member process is held four times per year on a roughly quarterly basis, coinciding with significant events in the church year as follows: shortly after the Christmas holiday, shortly after the Easter holiday, during the summer, and shortly after Fall-Start-up in September.

The new member process includes the following elements:

  • Welcome Coffee
  • The assignment of a Mentor
  • Four-Week New Member Class
  • New Member Welcome Social
  • Membership Sunday

To see dates of the current New Member classes, please click here.

Welcome Coffee

  • The welcome coffee is a time for an informal gathering with the pastor and church leaders to get introduced to the church.  The coffee includes a short presentation on the life of the church, including a PowerPoint presentation that offers a basic overview of who we are and what we believe. The welcome coffee is held in the fellowship hall after the 11:00 AM worship services.
  • During the welcome coffee there will be an opportunity to sign up for the new member class, which will begin the following Sunday.  Attendance at the welcome coffee is not required for participation in the new member classes or vice versa.

Assignment of a Mentor

  • When an individual or family signs up for the new member class, each prospective member or family will be offered a mentor who will help answer any questions they may have, introduce them to others within the church, and make suggestions for involvement. This mentor will attend at least 1 or 2 sessions of the class, and will remain with the new member throughout the membership process.  Mentors will be church leaders who are knowledgeable about the work and ministries of the church.

Membership Class

  • A four-week membership class called “Introduction to SUMC” is held at 11:00 AM on Sunday mornings. Each week will have a different teacher, and will include lessons on Methodist beliefs, history of Methodism, structure of the church, and how to get connected and involved at SUMC (including a “Spiritual Gifts” assessment).
  • Participation in the new member classes is a requirement to join the church, with the expectation being that 3 of the 4 classes must be attended. In the event 2 or more classes are missed, students may complete the missing classes during the next offering of the new member class without having to repeat the entire class.
  • The Pastor, at his/her discretion, has the flexibility to forge alternative paths to membership in the event someone is unable to attend the classes or another extenuating circumstance exists.
  • For children and youth, the following procedure applies: Any child whose parent(s) join the church who is in sixth grade or younger will be asked to officially join the church through the Confirmation process. Any youth in seventh through twelfth grade will be encouraged to participate in the Confirmation process but will be given the option of taking the new member classes instead.
  • At the conclusion of the final class, “How to get connected and involved at SUMC,” new members will be encouraged to choose at least one ministry area in which to get further involved. The mentor will make the necessary introductions to get the prospective member plugged into that ministry or those ministries.

New Member Welcome Social

  • On the Saturday evening prior to Membership Sunday, the group of joining members and their mentors will gather at the parsonage (or the home of a church staff member or Associate Lay Leader) for a social event to celebrate and to further encourage fellowship and engagement.

Membership Sunday

  • Upon completion of the membership class, participants will be invited to participate in Membership Sunday.
  • Membership Sunday will be held on the Sunday following the final session of the new member class.
  • On Membership Sunday, participants may join the church at the worship service of their choosing.
  • At the conclusion of the service, members will join the pastor at the back of the sanctuary for a receiving line, where they may be greeted by all members of the congregation.
  • New members’ photos and brief bios will appear in the bulletin and will be displayed in the church narthex until the next quarter, when a new class joins the church.


You may join Sterling UMC in one of several ways:

By Profession of Faith and Baptism

If you have not been baptized and you would like to confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, our Pastor will be glad to discuss this decision with you at your convenience.

If you have been baptized, but you have never had membership in the Church, you may be confirmed as a full member, professing your faith in Jesus Christ.

By Transfer from Another United Methodist Church

If you are currently a member of another United Methodist congregation you may transfer your membership to Sterling UMC. Please contact our Pastor or the church office for more information. It is not necessary for you to write your former church. Sterling UMC will handle the details of transfer for you.

By Transfer from Another Christian Denomination

This process is very much like the one above. Since you have already been baptized and confirmed, these steps will not be repeated. You will be asked to take the vow taken by all members of the United Methodist Church: Will you be loyal to the United Methodist Church and uphold it with your prayers, your presence, your gifts, and your service?

Once the appropriate above steps are taken you will then be presented before the congregation in one of our worship services and your membership decision affirmed and celebrated. Each time a new member is added to our church family it is an opportunity for everyone to also reaffirm their membership vows.

Sterling United Methodist Church

Iglesia Metodista Unida de Sterling

304 East Church Road, Sterling VA 20164

Phone: 703-430-6455 Fax: 703-430-0753