Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Membership and Committment

Skye Jethani quotes Rick Warren for a conference on the Out of Ur blog:
Warren shot down the notion that membership isn’t important as long as people attend the church. “The difference between an attender and a member is the difference between living together and getting married. A lot of people want to date the church, but they don’t want to get married. That is spiritual adultery.”

Radical membership is an act of commitment, not conformity. It’s about belonging to God’s family and being a contributor and not just a consumer. “if you’re going to build a healthy, mature church you are going to have to understand the meaning of radical membership.”
I love the living together/marriage analogy there - that's powerful stuff. And what many people do not think about is that there is very practical implications to this stuff. One such implication is that attenders donate a little, members donate a lot. Among the other commitments one makes when joining a church, financial ones are a biggie.

Forget the people mill mega churches for a minute and look at the average mid-sized church 200-400 people. The vast majority of the income comes from older people that have been members for decades. And this is where the marriage analogy comes back into play.

Think about the couple you know that did not get divorced because they'd both end up poor. Most such couple I know end up reconciling somehow. They do not stay estranged but married, they find a way to make the relationship work.

Church membership, and the financial entanglements it implies creates much the same situation. Obstacles to leaving the church also serve as pathways to reconciliation.

When you think about it, this analogy extends much further. In general, Evangelicalism seems to be content with "living together" with God. We are satisfied when we get people to acknowledge that Jesus is their significant other.

But we are to be the bride of Christ. Are we calling people to faith that radical?

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