Breakout Session 1 – Michael Statom – “Meaningful Church Membership”
The book of Nehemiah provides parallels to discuss meaningful church membership. Grieving over a fallen condition. Assigning workers to duties. Disciplining. Enduring ridicule and mocking.
1. The connection between church membership and church discipline. See 1 Corinthians 5. This is a failure to address an issue that they knew was wrong. In fact, they were arrogant about not dealing with it (verse 11). We are called to judge ourselves (verse 12-13). There must be a distinction between who is in and who is out. See 1 John 2:19 and Acts 5:13-14. God draws the true believers to His church.
2. The purpose of church membership. The gospel is what separates us as members of the church. The gospel sanctifies us as growing members of the church. The gospel is what brings us together as a church.
3. Establish a process for church membership.
a. Consider how to handle existing members. Are they going to have to sign the church covenant?
b. Bring people into the church initially through small groups.
c. Move those who are interested in membership through a specific class. The purposes of this class are to: 1) introduce ministries, 2) cause introspection on salvation, 3) communicate expectations of membership, 4) define the means of membership.
d. Elders should work with each individual. How will that person use their spiritual gifts? (see 1 Corinthians 14:12). Signing the church covenant.
e. Follow-up with members. Keeping up with who is not showing up. Finding out who there is out there who are depending on their church membership for their eternal security.