We don’t have a membership at our church. I know, it’s crazy! Most churches have one, but unless you are congregational in your church government, I don’t see the value. I’ve heard some pretty compelling arguments about how it allows people to feel like they a part of something. But here’s my issue: I have been a “Member” of my local gym for 3 years. Even though I became a member, I was still eating McDonald’s and powdered donuts until recently. So my membership didn’t mean anything to me. Yet when I decided to get serious about fitness, I began to lose weight and get healthy. So we decided from day 1 that no one would be able to join our church, but instead, people would be encouraged to be committed to the church. This meant service, giving, attending, and inviting unchurched friends and family.
We have a get together for people who are newcomers to the church and after we share a meal together I stand up and explain to them the vision of our church, how our church isn’t for everyone, but if you feel the vision resonating in your heart, then this may be where God is leading you. Then we explain how we don’t have a membership (which, by the way only churched people ask about), because being a member at the gym didn’t help me, but when I got committed and involved is when the change occurred. So we invite people to get committed and exercise their spiritual muscles in their commitment to God and the local church. What I hear every time I explain this is, “Pastor, thanks for sharing that. It just makes sense.” And we are seeing people get committed to God and the church in great ways.
So the question is, “Has the member-ship set sail?” Does it still have meaning like it once did? If so, how? If not, why are we still doing it?