In the church I grew up in, we reported that we had x amount of people in Sunday School and x amount in the Worship service (which was a huge amount higher). We as a denomination also reported our membership numbers. What’s crazy is that once a member, always a member (unless you “moved your letter” to another church), so a church like the one I was on staff at might have had 600 members but only 225 regular attenders or so. I’m pretty sure we had dead people on our membership roll. Something wrong with this picture? Reminds me of the scene on Black Sheep where Chris Farley and David Spade’s characters discovered that “dead people” had voted and the election was a fraud…
We’ve replaced the traditional emphasis on church membership
with an emphasis on participation.
Before we launched, I asked Larry Brey, our Assimilation Pastor, what the
point of membership ways. Why not just stress participation in Groups,
Giving, Serving and Evangelism and remove the formal barrier of
membership? We’re more concerned about getting people plugged in than
signed up. In the South, where church membership is sacred and social,
this was a pretty rigid rule to break. But we broke it in half like Daniel
LaRusso breaks boards. Sorry, that was dumb. All this Nintendo talk is
giving me flashbacks.
I think this is such a good discussion for the Church today. You already have membership in the church if you are a Christ follower. But better yet, you need partnership with a local community. Not just because it’s my job, but because I am under the conviction that community is biblical and that Christ didn’t intend for us to go it alone, we need to partner with a local body. We need to identify our gifts and serve, we need to give financially to support that body, we need to help others far from God find their way to God…
Membership = country club… sign up. Just like a gym, may or may not use it. If I’m a member of the country club or of a gym or of some other social group, my buy-in is pretty minimal. If I don’t show up, who cares? If I don’t work out, they don’t care! If I don’t come to the club breakfast, not a big deal.
Partnership = all hands on deck. If I’m a partner in a business, you better believe I have an investment riding on this thing, and I’m gonna do everything in my power to help it succeed big.
Friends, we have an opportunity far greater than making a few bucks in some business, or socially connecting at the country club. We have the privilege of serving the King of Kings, the Creator of the universe, the Savior of the World. It’s time to put our hands to the plow and engage our communities, to partner with a local community of believers to help people far from God be introduced to the One who really matters.
What do you think?