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 pros & cons for membership in local church, your opinions please

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skypreacher



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Join date : 2008-08-12

PostSubject: pros & cons for membership in local church, your opinions please   Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:33 pm

I would like to know your opinions on memebership in the local church. I personally believe that it is a good thing. and that it is really to the advantage of the person joining. I dont understand the hang up that some folks have when asked if they would join our church, and they decline.
So, what are some experiences that some of you may have had when dealing with trying to get people to join your church?

Thanks for any replies.
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skycaptain

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Location : Florence< AL

PostSubject: Re: pros & cons for membership in local church, your opinions please   Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:07 pm

I think church membership is important in the proper perspective. I know some folks who equate church membership and salvation which, in my opinion, is an error. On the other end of the spectrum, some don't seem to take church membership very seriously. I try to help people understand the difference, but also appreciate the significance of joining the church. Our covenant does a good job of outlining the doctrinal and practical aspects of being a member of a FWB church. In the church I served previously, becoming a member of the church involved publicly committing yourself to abide by the FWB church covenant. I think this not only gives a person a sense of connection with all FWBs, but also helps clarify what they believe and what is expected of a committed church member. What do you think? Smile
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skypreacher



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PostSubject: reasons for not joining   Wed Aug 13, 2008 5:50 am

I guess the delima that i am having is with some who say they are saved, born again believers, and I believe they are, but yet will not join. They want me to show them where in the Bible it says that they need to become members of the local church, of course there is no scripture that says this. But, all we are asking basically is for a public committment to this church as a Christian.
Becoming a member gives them a voice, and also will allow them to take part in teaching or other areas as a member.

I also know that there are a few that would join if we would take out the little thing about alcohol, but thats not gonna happen. I think maybe for these, there is a problem they are not willing to face and so therefore will not join.

anyway, just wondering if others have this situation in their churches and how they go about trying to persuade folks to become members.
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Aragorn

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PostSubject: Re: pros & cons for membership in local church, your opinions please   Wed Aug 13, 2008 12:45 pm

Just a thought, but as Christian's we are all members of one body Rom 12:4. and we are not supposed to forsake the assembling of ourselves together Hebrews 10:25. there are many scriptures that show both basic points of the people assembling together and of us collectivly being part of the same body.

Some people might come and worship together with us but they are not part of the assembly or a part of our local body unless they join the local body. this precedent is well set in the Bible.
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markalope

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Age : 45
Location : Henderson, Texas

PostSubject: Re: pros & cons for membership in local church, your opinions please   Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:36 pm

When I was younger, I attended a church for nearly three years before joining.
Looking back there were a couple reasons:
1. I had a bad experience at my previous church, and wanted the freedom to leave whenever I wanted without this business of "moving my letter."
2. I seemed to have all the benefits of membership already except that I couldn't vote in a business meeting or teach a class, neither of which did I have any desire to do at the time.

I know others who enjoy fellowship in a church but have not yielded to the doctrine, so they do not join.
(Currently, I have a woman interested in membership, but she has questions about our stand on eternal security first)
Others have been members of churches where membership meant you were routinely pressured into giving more money.
We all know a person can be saved just fine without all that.

This whole business reminds me of couples who live together and say they are committed to each other but will not actually marry, as in have a ceremony, get a piece of paper, etc.

So, in my opinion it all comes down to commitment. Can we get Christians to the point where they are willing to stay connected through thick and thin?
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Aragorn

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PostSubject: Re: pros & cons for membership in local church, your opinions please   Thu Aug 14, 2008 9:05 am

Mark, you make some valid points.

but getting people to commit is our job when you come to think about it. our job is to get people to commit their life to Christ by living out a loving example and witnessing about what God has done for us as an individual.

getting people connected is our job as a pastor. whether that is getting them connected to Christ, reconnecting families, connecting communities and connecting everyone including the hurting, the forgotten and others to a loving family.
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cyberpreacher

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PostSubject: Church Membership   Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:49 am

No long term commitment...no strings attached. That is the way of the world. We see it in relationships, in jobs, and in the church. If there is no commitment and no strings attached, then they bear no responsiblity. They can walk away at any time.
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getthewordout

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PostSubject: Re: pros & cons for membership in local church, your opinions please   Wed Aug 20, 2008 1:24 pm

Great Thread. Good Comments. I like what I'm reading here backing up commitment and responsibility in church membership. Many church members don't really see any commitment in joining a church but Acts chapter 2 certainly teaches commitment.
Acts 2:41-44 (NKJV)
41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common,

Church membership may not be in the scriptures by title, but it certainly is by example and principle as Acts 2 proves. I agree with SkyCaptain also in that our covenant sure represents biblical standards for a God-honoring church member. Now I have heard of some extremes that I don't agree with where requirements of a church could be viewed as legalistic, but I'm all for counseling and discipling prospective church members prior to them joining to make sure they know what the Lord expects out of a faithful Christian. A New Christian/Membership class will go along way in preventing trouble somewhere down the road. And for those who seem to want to "jump right in", I have no problem in suggesting that they attend faithfully for a while (say 3-6 months) in order to become familiar with the church and attend that new member class before uniting with the church.

Let me ask y'all a question. Would it bother you to receive into church membership (without counseling them) a person who is a SMO (Sunday morning only) attender who is capable of attending the other services as well?
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cyberpreacher

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PostSubject: Membership   Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:08 am

Why not? All of us have members that attend just on Sunday morning. We may not like it, but that is the way it is. However, folks like that do not need to be in key positions in the church. Leadership in the local church needs more than just Sunday morning attention.
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markalope

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PostSubject: Re: pros & cons for membership in local church, your opinions please   Sat Aug 23, 2008 4:54 am

I think all seeking membership should be counseled.
All of us have SMOs, but I hope none of us are content with them.
I met with the woman who wants to join our church last night.
I am new to this pastorate and she is the first person I've counseled for membership.
In preparation for her visit, I prepared a membership manual,
based on the one used by a well known pastor and church planter in Nashville.

It includes a brief history of FWB, the covenant, our doctrinal beliefs, a worksheet to answer any doubts about assurance, perseverance, and the (three) ordinances.
It explains what can be expected from the church (love, support, encouragement, sound instruction, etc.)
But it also spells out what is expected from the member, namely faithful attendance to worship, involvement in group study (aka Sunday School), and involvement in some Christian service (ministry), and, of course, regular giving.

By seeking membership you are agreeing to this. We want people committed to discipleship. It may sound like I'm implying SMOs are not interested in discipleship. I might also be implying that disciples are not interested in merely attending Sunday mornings only.

rendeer wattayouknow? a Markalope emoticon!
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Aragorn

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PostSubject: Re: pros & cons for membership in local church, your opinions please   Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:25 am

excellent discussion. to add a little more to this, how many of you check with their prior church in addition to counseling prospective members?
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markalope

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PostSubject: Re: pros & cons for membership in local church, your opinions please   Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:01 pm

In the above case, I do not intend to check with her prior church.
We are going to accept her on her own statement of faith.

I heard a David Jeremiah sermon years ago explaining why he does not consult previous churches.
I can't remember the reasons.

I'd be interested myself how many churches still have members "move their letter."
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John_The_Savage



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PostSubject: Re: pros & cons for membership in local church, your opinions please   Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:35 am

I have one good friend who does not feel that he is able to join a FWB church although he is a regular attender. His reasoning is that the church requires new members to agree to the FWB covenant distinct from the treatise and includes a reading of it now one wouldn't think this would be a problem. However, the treatise includes the line "from all sanction of the use and sale of intoxicating beverages". Now in his mind one cannot do that and go to lunch at Applebee's followed by a stop at Kroger's, and then filling up the tank on the way home.

Simply put one cannot live in our current world and not violate the treatise. So therefore he does not feel that he can join.


As to the SMO's I would have no problem with them joining. I knew one man who did not attend on Sunday, because due to a variety of conflicts it was the only time available to spend with his extended family. I have known others who simply had things which they would prefer to do during that time. Now they attended Sunday morning, Sunday School, and even had bible studies with friends. But should we judge them because they choose to follow a different schedule than us?

I have no problem saying that you should not forsake assembling together. You shouldn't. However, to extend that to mean every time teh church doors are open, is a stretch. To extend that even further to say that those who choose not to conform to our schedule based purely on outdated cultural norms and given sacred status by fundamentalist culture, is quite simply silly in my opinion.
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Aragorn

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PostSubject: Re: pros & cons for membership in local church, your opinions please   Fri Sep 05, 2008 9:14 am

excellent post JTS. in the case of your friend I think how strictly you define the term sanction is important. I can and have eaten at Applebee's, chilies, outback steakhouse, red lobsters, ect with no guilt. I did not partake of (by purchasing or consuming) intoxicating beverages.
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John_The_Savage



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PostSubject: Re: pros & cons for membership in local church, your opinions please   Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:49 pm

I have no problems with that myself, no more than I have a problem shopping at Krogers or a gas station. However, to me the words "All Sanction"" is what kills the treatise. I understand that when it was written it was a completely different world. But those two words are problematic. All sanction can only mean what it says. That any form of sanctioning the use or sale of alcohol is wrong. So by shopping at krogers I am promoting their sales and therefore sanctioning the use. I am saying that what they do is ok or I would not be shopping there.
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fredbird67



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PostSubject: Re: pros & cons for membership in local church, your opinions please   Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:05 am

Markalope, my wife and I are in a similar situation. We moved here to the St. Louis area 5 years ago, but ran into problems with the last three churches we've been a part of since moving here, all of which were Southern Baptist. Funny thing is, I've been a Southern Baptist for most of my life until some issues we had at our last church with not only the pastor but with the local association director. The long and short of that is that our last pastor, IMHO, deserved to be fired due to compulsive lying, but over half the church refused to fire him, and the association director stood up for him too, never mind his unrepentant attitude. After that, not only were we done with that church, but with the association director standing up for him, I was done with the SBC too, at least while we're living here in St. Louis.

Mind you, had our last pastor repented and vowed to clean up his act, I would've gladly given him a second chance -- but he didn't. Of course, I don't expect a pastor to be perfect, but I do expect him to make every effort to live a pure and holy life, just like I try to do. Oh, and at our last church, both of us taught Sunday school classes too (she taught a women's Bible study and I taught the youth) plus at our last church, I was our church's pianist and got paid for it, too. But after what happened at our last church, as much as I enjoyed doing all that, I just couldn't stomach it anymore under those conditions.

Anyways, after our last church up and split for reasons already mentioned, we looked around at several different churches, and here while back, I asked my wife which one she liked the best, and she said the Free Will Baptist one. Since that time, with the occasional exception of times we've been out of town for a weekend, we've been there every Sunday. I'm already singing in the choir there (I was even half of a duet on a choir number a month ago!) and greatly enjoy going to that church, and in fact, I'd be more than happy to join it in a heartbeat. However, I'm waiting until my wife is ready to join, and she STILL has yet to feel like the FWB church we've been going to lately is where she wants to call home, never mind the fact that she grew up General Baptist, which is doctrinally more or less a clone of Free Will Baptists, no less.

In the meantime, I'm still waiting for her to agree to join...I guess I'm just impatient...

Fred in St. Louis

markalope wrote:
When I was younger, I attended a church for nearly three years before joining.
Looking back there were a couple reasons:
1. I had a bad experience at my previous church, and wanted the freedom to leave whenever I wanted without this business of "moving my letter."
2. I seemed to have all the benefits of membership already except that I couldn't vote in a business meeting or teach a class, neither of which did I have any desire to do at the time.

I know others who enjoy fellowship in a church but have not yielded to the doctrine, so they do not join.
(Currently, I have a woman interested in membership, but she has questions about our stand on eternal security first)
Others have been members of churches where membership meant you were routinely pressured into giving more money.
We all know a person can be saved just fine without all that.

This whole business reminds me of couples who live together and say they are committed to each other but will not actually marry, as in have a ceremony, get a piece of paper, etc.

So, in my opinion it all comes down to commitment. Can we get Christians to the point where they are willing to stay connected through thick and thin?
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