Saturday, September 15, 2007

Re-Thinking Church Membership (Part 5)

Read entire series here.

Society VS leaves a very good observation in the comment section of Part 4. To quote:

I like the route you are taking with this - and I agree in general with it - but at the core of the 'assembling' is an even deeper issue - usefulness of the church.

My brother told me something that opened my eyes 'churches are culture associations/clubs' more than they are churches/faith systems. I think I agree with what he said. Maybe the churches have lost their focus - and in the process - people have left church (seeing it's utter lack of use - or original intent). I think there is more to leaving church than we might think...I could be off - but it makes logical sense.

In both my personal experience and in talking with many other Christians, many people leave a church because of the formal memberships those churches have set up. (Several I've talked to have vowed to never become "formal" members of a church again.) People are welcome in many churches not because they merely confess Christ, but because they also believe not only in the essentials of Christianity, but the narrow sectarian beliefs of the leadership, and even the culture that church develops because of those narrow beliefs. Those who don't aren't welcome, and often are denied "formal" membership. Many others are turned off by the two tiered class system that "formal" membership necessarily, although not wittingly, sets up. (I will show this point in future posts.)

By requiring conformance to narrow sectarian beliefs and manufactured cultural "norms" as a part of membership, many churches are actually creating the drifting, non-participating "pew-sitters" that their "formal" memberships are designed to prevent.

Part 4 . . . . . . . . Part 6

1 comment:

  1. "many churches are actually creating the drifting, non-participating "pew-sitters" that their "formal" memberships are designed to prevent." (Steve)

    Couldn't sgree more - I have also seen this problem in the churches - they tend to make the scenario problematic with what I would call 'class divisions' (ex: people in power vs. people under them - that old tug o' war). A pastor's power actually depends on the people under him - and not on equality of all in God's kingdom (some have to be leaders and thusly, more important).

    The congregation suffers in all of this - they become a 'ruled people' who need the guidance and jurisdictional approval of the laity and powers that be for any action they undertake. Little do they know - they have Jesus as a mediator - and someone else on top of that regulating the whole thing. In the end, the congregation becomes a less used base of people - who if they just organized themselves - could do so much with they give in time and money.