ChurchETHOS

Let’s Consult the Membership Roles

Posted in uncategorized by Nathan Creitz on October 7, 2005

Should a church have an official membership? Too often membership is like paying your dues to be in a club. Someone who is a member may not give of their time and money sacrificially because it isn’t expected of them. Just give a certain percentage and you’re in. Come on Sundays and you are in. Volunteer in the nursery or teach a Bible study and you are really committed. I think most of our time and money needs to be spent reaching out to the world and in growing disciples. The typical member of a church may not invest more because they feel their money is being wasted on so much excess. It seems to me that only about 5 or 10% (made up statistic) are really doing anything in the church. When we ask people to subscribe to a minimum standard, there is no motivation to invest their lives in a cause. Imagine if a commander of an army said, we strongly desire for you to give your lives if necessary, but really all we want is about 10%. The ones who give their lives in service to the cause of Christ can’t be commanded by church leadership to do it. The Christian soldier must value the ministry and enjoy sacrificing and giving their life for “the cause”.

A church should give people a chance to be invested in by the church as a part of the Family. They should also give people a chance to invest in the church with their time and money and talents. We should talk about our “members” as family and our “visitors” as friends. So, literally, the church should desire to be a caring community to family and friends. Those who desire to grow as followers of Christ often desire to do that through small groups and one on one discipleship. Others can’t commit as much time during the week, but that doesn’t make them any less a part of the Family. Everyone should do what they can and what they believe God is calling them to do. A pastor should desire to mobilize as many people as possible to be productive and effective for the kingdom of God.

As a result, churches will have “members” who value the body of Christ and who are using and developing their spiritual gifts to bring about unity, love and the knowledge of God in the church and the surrounding community. People don’t want to give their tithe to a cause, they want to give their lives to a cause. They can then be called “members” because of the imagery in the New Testament of being members of God’s household, of being members of the Body, and of being members of God’s family. They aren’t members because they filled out a card, went through the initiation process, and paid their dues. So a person came three Sundays in a row and made 6 contacts? Does that tell me anything about the spiritual life of the “member”? In order to get more members should I get organized and have a system where I call a new person after the first visit, visit them after their second visit, send a card on their birthday, and have a person from the leadership team take them to lunch in the first month? No, instead people in the church should be ready to reach out to people because of the love they have for God and for others. Today’s society won’t put up with scheduled relationships. Membership in a church must be organic and relational calling for complete surrender to Christ and a willingness to abandon all for God, for the Church, and for the culture around us.

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