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Membership or Partnership?

Via MMI I read that Church Marketing Sucks (I love that name) wrote a piece about church membership within the SBC churches. The article basically hammers on the fact that most church roles are out of date.

Last night in our leadership meeting I talked with our team about the idea of Membership vs. Partnership. I basically just wrote "Partnership" on the white board first. I asked everyone to brainstorm and shout out what comes to mind. I then wrote the word "Membership" on the board and repeated the process.

Here are the results:


· “If you’re in, you’re in” (In for the penny, in for the pound.)

· Together

· Common purpose

· Ownership

· Commitment

· Common goal

· Hard drop out

· “I got your back” mentality


· Club

· Community dues

· Set leadership/flowers

· Goods & services

· Option

· An ID card

· Belonging (Identifier)

· Fine print

· Fizzle out

· Minimal effort

· Fast drop out

It's obvious to our leaders that 'membership' does a poor job of conveying what we want from those who join the team. We don't want people to think of the body of Christ as merely "members".

One of our guys said "Yeah, I'm a member of Sam's Club. When I go and show my card, I go get the free food, get a good deal and good service. But when I leave, I don't care about Sams Club again until the next time I need to buy food in bulk.

Is this not the case? Do we not set our people up to view our churches like any other club with a membership. As long as people drop in their cash on the weekends we aren't going to do anything besides serve them.

Is that the church of Christ?

I dunno... When I think of what Christ called us to as the 'church' I tend to think about "Leave your father and mother" and "If you turn your back, you're not fit for the Kingdom" and "If you want to live, you'll die to self". That seems to me to require movement and action.

Anyway, we're all 'members' of God's household once we're saved by the blood of the Lamb. We aren't trying to get "members", we're trying to get "partners" in ministry.

Laypeople: Become a partner with your church... get in the game.

Pastors: Quit being so desperate to add numbers to the rolls. Be passionate about reaching the lost but quit worring how to generate numbers on some membership list. Be honest about who you are and lovingly reach people. Don't 'pimp out' the church for a cheap thrill.

We can all be honored that God has called us into partnership with Him to fulfill the Great Commission. God is amazing and His plans are wonderful. If we just get in line with Him and tell others about Him, we'll be doing alright regardless of the membership rolls. The only roll to us that should matter is the roll that God has of those who've accepted Him as Lord and Savior.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Wednesday, July 27, 2005


At 9:47 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Great post. It is incredible to see the things that came to mind with the concepts of partnership and membership. The Sam's Club comparison was very awakening.

I imagine this will be just another change in the next wave of churches. Mosaic in L.A. calls their volunteers staff - this totally takes the expectations and commitment to the next level.


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