April 15, 2010 § 7 Comments
Thinking a lot about church membership these days, and here’s why.
- We’re a very transient church, and need to get to know one another quickly since most people are with us an average of three years. Offering something akin to ‘Membership Class’ gives us the opportunity to know one another quickly, assess where people are at spiritually, and find a place for them to integrate into the church family.
- To increase our ability to disciple people, membership creates a standard that helps us follow up when people are missing, address needs in people’s lives, and facilitate them in finding a place of service.
- Membership creates a sense of belonging, which is important for a multicultural, transient population.
- People need the opportunity to formalize their commitment to a local body of believers.
- Because we come from such diverse backgrounds with different ideas of ‘church,’ it’s important for people to get a sense of what NIC is all about.
But here are the obstacles we face:
- We are a church body that welcomes people at all various stages of spiritual development. We want to continue to be a place where people can struggle with their faith and morality and yet receive guidance and friendship. Membership could create requirements that make the doubters and strugglers feel second class or unwelcome.
- Many people already have membership in other churches since they’re just here for a few years to work or study.
- Membership can easily become a tool for controlling rather than building community, and we definitely don’t want that.
- Membership can easily focus on the institution of church and forget that this is about people who are in real and often difficult spiritual journeys.
So help me out.
Any ideas on how we can be creative in membership? Are there other ways to achieve the same objectives apart from membership?