A Different Kind of Membership ~ Pastor Gary

Credit card icon American Express has long pitched one of the simplest and most recognizable taglines in industry: “Membership has its privileges.”  Yet across North America the evidence suggests that leaders of professional associations and non-profits are facing significant cultural forces working against membership rates, event participation, and new member recruitment. Some pundits even argue that the membership model is dead.[1]

Many churches also seem to be succumbing to cultural trends as they lessen or even remove membership requirements for the sake of broader appeal. I wish to take the opportunity through our e-bulletin today to affirm CBC Ilderton’s commitment to church membership and to remind you of our upcoming membership classes.

I think there are many misconceptions surrounding church membership. Many see it as a series of extra hoops one must jump through in order to earn membership, which smacks of a legalism contrary to the gospel grace that is freely given to believers. Others see it as distastefully exclusive: to be a member of something implies others are not. Will this lead us down a path of Phariseeism, is the resulting concern. Others see the lack of a direct biblical proposition such as “thou shalt be a member of a local church” as evidence against the necessity, or even appropriateness, of church membership. Our classes will look to address these issues and much more, but to answer the question “who may be a member of our local church Jonathan Leeman gives a great answer in his book Church Membership: “Christians. That is to say, the standard for church membership should be no higher or lower than the standard for being a Christian.”[2]

Our church membership is not about privileges and exclusivity, but rather responsibilities and opportunities. Our classes give our leadership an opportunity to convey clearly our beliefs and values, our leadership and governance, and our history and vision. Understanding and embracing the responsibilities and opportunities of membership will help us:

i) guard the purity of the church,

ii) promote the unity of the church,

            iii) understand the church,

iv) serve and be served, and

v) assimilate into the life and ministry of Christ through his church.

Our classes will work toward helping members: Connect, Grow, Serve, and Go, all to the glory of God. Please consider sitting in on our classes. Times are either a single afternoon on Sunday, June 11th or two Monday evenings (the 12th and 19th of June. Sign up is in the foyer, or send me an email.

Hope to see you there!

 

Much love,

Pastor Gary

 

[1] https://stickybranding.com/membership-has-its-privileges/

[2] Leeman, J.; Church Membership; Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2012; p85

 

 

 

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