Martyschmidt’s Weblog

A Joyful Journey

Covenant Membership May 13, 2008

Filed under: Leadership,thebridge — martyschmidt @ 9:13 pm

There seems to be a lot of excitement about our first ever Covenant Membership class this Sunday. This is very encouraging for me but at the same time it has forced me to wrestle through some tough questions.

  • Why do we have membership?
  • Why are we doing membership now?
  • What are we asking people to sign off on?
  • What are we offering our members?
  • Is membership the right word/covenant/partnership?
  • What would it look like if membership was a one year commitment?
  • What requirements are there before someone can be a member if any?

I’ve been processing these questions with a number of people and what I am finding is the old model and mindset of what membership is/was is not helpful anymore. There was a time when membership meant one thing and it worked because of the context in which it was set up. Times have changed though and we need to explore new methods and ways of developing partnerships between the local church and the people that make up the local church. At thebridge we are working on a simple and short term solution for connecting people with our mission. Simple because we don’t have all of the answers and short term to allow for changes and flexibility.

How would you answer any of the above questions?

What would you be sure to have in place for your membership process?


4 Responses to “Covenant Membership”

  1. jason allen Says:

    I’m sure you’ve already thought through all of this, but I think the place to begin is the the scriptural understanding of:

    1. The church, it’s nature and role, etc.

    2. Church membership.

    In some ways it seems the answer to those questions will drive how we respond to the great questions you listed above.

    So I’d be interested to hear how you guys at The Bridge understand the scripture on this issue as I’m working through this myself.

  2. […] MS on church membership.  Check it. […]

  3. Lon Says:

    my current community has membership.. it’s renewed annually… there are no benefits other than vote counts… there are some commitments that go along with it… but it’s hard to say how much of it works out practically.

    I agree with Jason though… it goes back to those basic questions. I’m not big on the idea of membership myself… definitely not as a club… i don’t really see it in the scriptures… though i do see partners in mission, in the gospel, communities that are deeply committed to one another.

  4. martyschmidt Says:

    Jason – just posted some additional thoughts that relate to your post.

    Lon – the idea of voting is odd for me. I understand the need for accountability and systems for making decisions but often I feel we have made church a democracy and everyone gets an equal voice. I’m not sure everyone should have an equal voice just because they are a member.

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