What are you a “member of”? What membership cards do you carry in your wallet or purse? Right off the top of my head, I am a member of Sams Club, Blockbuster, and a shooting range. (I thought I’d throw that last one in after my nascar post yesterday). In each case I paid my “dues”, agreed to obey the rules of the organization, and now I expect to receive something that “outsiders” are not entitled to.
What does that have to do with church? Nothing if you are looking for church membership in scripture… (I’m just sayin’) In practice though, churches generally have members. They may be called different names but they are still people who pay their “dues”, agree to obey the rules (membership covenant), and expect privileges that “outsiders” are not entitled to such as “voting” and being on “committees” that actually guide the church. If that sounds like the way church should be to you…that’s fine…enjoy. My point is not to judge other church’s leadership structures but to explain why actionchurch will never have a single “member”-ever!
We will constantly pray and act to attract participants-not members! We will honor those who actually participate in our cause of “making Jesus famous” in York county. We will invest time, resources, and training on those who want to be a part of the exciting business of sharing the love of God with our neighbors, friends, and families. Instead of membership training, we will train up Godly leaders and “release” them back into their communities. Instead of trying to be “find a ministry” for everyone within the walls of the church, we will strive to use staffing and technology to make the business of meeting as a church as simple as possible-so that our participants have time and energy to impact their circle of influence. We will make it very easy for “outsiders” to become participants…and impossible to become a “member”. Participants wanted- “Members” not allowed!
Does this sound idealistic, impractical, and “not normal”. Good! The Church written about in Acts did pretty well without members, committees, or even the New Testament to study. (Remember they were being the “Bible”, not just reading it!)
If you’ve spent any time around church you probably still have one question. “How does a church without members “Vote”? Simple, everyone votes! In a “church without members” the vision and cause is clearly laid out by the leadership team and people of all races, religious backgrounds, and Pepsi-vs-Coke preferences vote…They “vote” with their participation and attendance. They “vote” with their financial support. They “vote” by inviting their friends and family to also participate in our cause. How do “participants” vote?…they “vote” with their actions-we are actionchurch after all!
Yeah, membership to a church was never mentioned in the Bible, but people could be kicked out of the church. So, in a sense, there was membership in the early church. If a non-Christian shows up a Christian church and has non-Christian views, the church should witness to them. If a member shows up with non-Christian views, the church should correct and, when necessary, discipline them. Membership is just an easy way to delineate between those to whom the church should witness and those who should be corrected. I don’t like that whole voting is open to everyone thing. What if you get swarmed by some KJV only people some Sunday and they vote to only allow KJV bibles? Or a bunch of fringe Emergents who vote to teach against Sola Scriptura? If you only have members, who have signed the church’s Statement of Faith, voting, you’re less likely to be driven by majority rule into wrong directions. The church could be driven into heresy or simply into directions inconsistent with your vision.
Good point…and probably official “membership” was not needed by the early NT Church…just “refusing to eat with such a person” would effectively kick them out in such a close knit community.
We allow everyone to vote in two ways…with their “feet” (by staying or leaving) and with their wallets..(by giving or not giving) The vision of actionchurch “is what it is” if people do not show up and support it with their resources and time…we cease to exist.