Sunday, April 15, 2012

Why Church Membership?

Perhaps this blog is a piggy back off my blog “Voting....Politics.....BOREDOM!” However, I want to clarify why (at least Radiant Fellowship) has partnership. I described in my last blog 
I remember when, Tracy and I first got Radiant after only a year and a half of it’s first launch (don’t ask). With a new leadership team, we wrestled with the term “membership.” I had people on the leadership team (long time church goers) in their 50’s down to their 20’s. All of us agreed we would rather chew on glass than become a “member” of a church ever again. This is when we decided to adopt the wording “partner.” This was an idea borrowed from Mars Hill church (the biblical one in Grand Rapids, MI.). It really takes away the elitist mentality that the word “member” implies..”
Let’s explore the question a little more from a practical standpoint. Let’s be honest...there is no biblical leg to stand on regarding the term “church membership.” We are all part of the church. Now...with that said...let me be a voice of reason because many just poo-poo the church for having this and don’t understand the business side of it. I must say I get it why people hate the very idea. It has been severely abused within the church.
We live in a sick world where people try and sue churches. We also live in a world where people come and go bouncing from church to church if they don’t care for one or many things. It is the culture we live in...I get that. The reason (at least Radiant Fellowship) has partnership is simply to get a commitment out of a person that that they will stick around...perhaps even help. If you have ever trained someone at work only for them to quit weeks after they got can be discouraging. Secondly...if you are going to head up a ministry (or assist with), ESPECIALLY A CHILDREN’S MINISTRY we want to know that you are legitimate. We need to know who you are, and if you work with the need to have a background check done. Some may still think it is a horrible idea....I would simply respond with a question. Have you been on the staff side of a church and seen some that come and go? You would be utterly amazed at some people who will come into a church to “start a ministry” only to have ulterior motives. From registered offenders wanting to work with kids to people simply joining to spread rumors and tear the church apart from within the inside, I have seen it all. This is why we run people through this filter. That is the only reason. 
Some of the negatives we have seen could range from the church ONLY wanting your money. That is an abuse. ONLY wanting you to jump in and serve...A LOT! That is an abuse. The list goes on and on. It seemed the first church I served at only sent letters to the members when someone wasn’t giving as the pastor saw fit, therefore the member got a letter stating their membership is in question. THAT IS AN ABUSE! I personally like to send out letters/emails to the partnership simply to tell them how awesome they are and how much I appreciate them.
I believe “partnership” should be a positive and enjoyable experience. is not for many. I shouldn’t be this way. I can only hope that you would consider letting your guard down and seeing it from a different perspective. At the end of the day...if you are a will thank your church for having “partnership/membership” when it comes to volunteers working with your children.

Btw...what's up with the picture? Sometimes we can assume once we become a "partner/member" of a church we must look, act or dress a certain way. Not so where I pastor...welcome to Radiant Fellowship.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent thoughts here. This is one of the things that makes it difficult for wounded believers to go back to organized fellowship times. However, it must be takes money to keep things going. If a group wants low cost or free counseling from their pastors..someone needs to pay them. They can't be homeless or on welfare with their families and work for free. That's just not right. If the group wants a place to gather away from the harsh elements of the weather, then the place they gather needs to be paid for. Home churches are different and certainly have less costly options. I like the concept of partnership.. I think 'membership' has been widely abused by greedy pastors who aren't smart enough to be creative in their finances. I applaud what you're doing with Radiant.