Thursday, July 30, 2009

Membership part II

OK so we're conisitently revisiting this membership thing and we've had some comments and some good suggestiosn made. On of the key issues is what does a follower of Jesus look like. If we know what a folower of Jeuss looks like then we can make teh entrance requirement the desire to strive towrds being that kind of person.

A follower of Jesus is NOT just someone who can say Jesus is Lord. Our churches worldwide membership lists are full of people who confess that truth but whos lives show no regeneration at all. They don;t fellowship, regulalry attend worship or live lives that seem to be changed by Jesus.

What do you think of what I believe that a fully devoted follower of Jesus would look like?

1. Repent of their sin and make public confession of a Trinitarian belief and be baptized

2. Regularly worship Jesus privately and publically

3. Live a holy and moral life

4. Study the Scriptures both Old and New testaments

5. Be diligent in prayer

6. Love the church through fellowship and community

7. Serve in ministry according to their gifts

8. Commit to witness to the lost

9. Would give financially to God’s work in this church and elsewhere


Gareth said...

I would agree with your list being a basis for how we should aim to live our lives - things that we should earnestly, sincerely and with perseverance strive towards.

However when I first read the list I went through it thinking (in no particular order) .....

- I'm not always diligent in prayer
- I don't think my witnessing is effective or that I do enough to witness
- There have been tough months where I haven't contributed to God's work like I feel I should
- I've repented of my sin but there are still those frustratingly repetitive sins that I'm still struggling with
- If the list was a qualification list for membership, would I qualify?

I read recently that we should have more public confession within the church. Not that everybody needs to stand up and confess their sins to the whole church, but we should be confessing our sins and struggles to someone in the church (although I haven't done so yet!) and everyone should be pretty open about the fact that they are not perfect Christians.

Related to this is that we need people to know that they're not the only ones messing up and sometimes missing the ideal by a long shot. People who come to church need to be aware that everyone else there is a sinner just like them -- still struggling, still sinning. Not to the point that it becomes "everybody fails so I shouldn't let my conscience bother me when I fail", but to where people are more open to admit their struggles and get help from within their church family.

Have you seen the blog post by Michael Patton at Parchment and Pen called "Uncle, Lord!"? If not, it's well worth a read - and also good to read the comments (and there is a follow-up blog post by someone else on the site also worth reading). Check it out at:

In summary, I think the list is great, as long as everyone is aware that they're not going to be tested each week at church to see who passed and failed against the list (and I know that obviously that was never your intention). I think the list could scare people, but if you can get people to not be scared but to buy-in, to truly persevere to work towards living their lives like that, even though they know they'll probably never get it 100% right, it would be a great thing.

I still go to church sometimes and look around and think that most of the people I see are living really good lives and seem to be so on the "right track" - and sometimes I get scared of what people would think of me if they watched my every move for a week. Truth is, they probably think I'm a really good Christian example and I've got it all figured out, and all together, and live just the way the bible teaches us to live!

Now, who is willing to be the first to drop their mask? ;)

[Wow - this comment could have been a blog post in itself it's so long!]

Brent said...

Hi Gareth.

I agree with your sentiments. I look at the list and fail in at least 5 of the items. If it was a requirement to meet the list, Jesus would be on his own :)

For membership I would ask that people agree that these are GOALS that they WILL aim for (and fail like us, and find Jesus grace)

The concern has been that when there is no expectation of for example morality we cannot really fault people who don't live moral lives. People who do not see the need to study scripture or to fellowship or to serve (all biblically mandated) would not come into membership - not because they do not achieve the goals - but because they cant see that they are God given goals.

I cant see Michael Patton's blog ever - it is always down from my side?