Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Turning Attenders into Members

Gathering a crowd on Sunday morning is not the same as having dedicated congregation of committed members. By ‘members’ I mean believers who have been placed in the Body of Christ (by an act of the Holy Spirit) and who identify themselves as committed participants in a local congregation (through voluntary commitment). Members have a sense of ownership. They are contributors, not just consumers.

America has a lot of floating Christians. Anywhere else in the world, being a Christian is synonymous with being connected to a local congregation. Many American Christians, however, hop from one church to another without any identity, accountability, or commitment. They do this because they have not been taught that the Christian life involves more than BELIEVING – it also includes BELONGING.

Most people associate the term ‘membership’ with paying dues, meaningless rituals, silly rules & handshakes, business meetings, and having your name on some dusty roll. The New Testament, however, has a very different image of membership; instead of being inducted into a cold institution, membership means becoming a vital part (organ) of a living body (Romans 12:4-5; I Corinthians 6:15; I Corinthians 12:12-27). We need to reclaim this image, because any organ that is detached from its body will not only miss what it was intended to be, it will also shrivel and quickly die. The same is true for Christians who are uncommitted to any specific congregation.

This is why we offer SEMINAR 101 – DISCOVERING THE PCC FAMILY; it helps incorporate believers into a committed relationship with the local church. In this seminar we are able to show the benefits of membership, answer questions about our church, outline what is required of members, and provide opportunities for ministry service. Strong membership classes help build strong churches. This seminar has been one of the most effective tools we have used over the last eleven years.

COMPLETION of the membership seminar is REQUIRED for membership. People who are uninterested or unwilling to learn about our church’s purpose, strategy, and the meaning of membership are FAILING to DEMONSTRATE the kind of commitment that membership implies. If they don’t even care enough to understand the responsibilities of membership, then they cannot be expected to fulfill those responsibilities.
Many churches do not even have a membership process and will simply grant membership with a handshake or transfer of letter. That is meaningless. At PCC we take membership seriously because it is an important step in a persons life and spiritual journey.

At PCC we recognize the need for formal membership: It defines who can be counted on. Every team must have a roster. Every school must have an enrollment. Every business has a payroll. Every army has an enlistment. Even our country takes a census and requires voter registration. Membership identifies our church family.

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