Church Membership: Do I Stay or Do I Go Now?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Revmitchell, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    Criteria for Joining a Church

    1. Doctrine: What does the church believe about primary, secondary, and tertiary doctrines? How clear are they in their doctrinal commitments? Do you share the church’s core beliefs? Are you willing to submit to the teaching ministry of the church when it comes to (presumably minor) doctrines where you might disagree?

    2. Emphases: Does the pastor (or pastors) emphasize text-driven preaching and teaching? Does the church emphasize discipleship, accountability, and spiritual formation for all its members? Does the church emphasize personal evangelism and global missions?

    3. Geography: Do you live close enough to regularly worship with this particular body of believers? Do you live close enough to regularly serve alongside the members of this church? If you live more than 20 minutes away from the church’s gathering place, are you willing to either drive frequently or relocate closer so that you can be vitally involved in the body life of the church?

    4. Preferences: Are you comfortable with the church’s approach to music and worship? Are you comfortable with the church’s approach to age- or gender-specific ministry? Are you comfortable with the general ambience or atmosphere that is being fostered by the church?

    Criteria for Leaving a Church

    1. Geography: Have you relocated far enough from the church’s gathering place that it is no longer possible to be meaningfully involved? (e.g. you move across town)

    2. Doctrine: Has there been a change in the doctrinal convictions you hold or those espoused by the church’s leadership that makes continued membership difficult? (e.g. the church changes its position on female pastors, baptism, speaking in tongues, or eternal security)

    3. Emphases: Has there been a change in the church’s emphases that makes continued membership difficult? (e.g. the pastor has abandoned text-driven teaching and preaching or the leadership refuses to emphasize evangelism and missions)

    4. Preferences: Has there been a change in how the church handles some of your preferences that makes continued membership difficult? (e.g. the music style has changed, the children’s ministry strategy has changed, church gatherings have become more or less casual than they were)


    http://betweenthetimes.com/index.php/2013/09/11/church-membership-do-i-stay-or-do-i-go-now/
     
  2. Salty

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    The SBC states there are about 16 million members of local churches. I wonder how many have joined other churches, but never transfered membership?

    and as the OP indicates - as far as going to another church - was it a reason (justified) or an excuse (not justified)
     
  3. JonC

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    I agree with 1-3 on both joining and leaving.
     
  4. saturneptune

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    Joining a local church is a very serious matter for an individual or family. Before one joins a church and commits their lives to serving and being part of a local New Testament Church, they should have examined every aspect of that church, their core beliefs, by-laws and Constitution, tone of the congregation, cliques, etc. It is my belief that joining a church should be with the expectation of staying a long time.

    In my life, I have changed churches one time, when I went from Presbyterian to Baptist. Of course, moving, churches closing, or in rare instances a church changing doctrine so greatly one cannot serve there anymore are legitimate reasons, and usually we have no control over circumstances such as this.

    However, those that have a pattern of church hopping, changing every time they get mad at the pastor, or this or that frivolous reason, is the sign of a very unhealthy spiritual life. It is not a game of hop scotch. It is serving the Lord.
     
  5. Salty

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    In theory you are correct!
    However, in reality, I have not seen this to be the case. Over the past 50 years, I have been a member of at least 15 churches. Many of the changes were due to military moves.

    So the questions is: how do we convey that church membership is a very serious matter?
     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Put one in my neighborhood. That shouldn't be hard for an SBC organization, right?
     
  7. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    It seems to me there are many other reasons for changing churches we are ignoring.

    The criteria listed for leaving a church cover you moving and the church changing, but what if you are what has changed? Perhaps the church still holds the same doctrines, but over the years you have changed what you believe. I see too many people who stay with a church because that is where they grew up or that was where their parents are buried, but they don’t agree with the doctrine or emphases of the church.

    I believe the biggest reason for changing churches should be the leading of the Holy Spirit. My life and ministry have included lots of different churches and many of them I knew were temporary when I started. When I have accomplished what God set out for me in one church it is time to move to another. EW&F hit on a good point, what if a new church starts up that needs you more?
     
  8. Earth Wind and Fire

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    So how do you attract men? Im not talking about men who get dragged there cause their wives think its the thing to do to raise the kiddo's---Im talkin my son, age 22, car mechanic & trying to scrape enough so he & his buddy can start a car repair company of their own. They work Monday through Saturday & on Sunday he makes extra money fixing other kids cars. You going to tell him that he should belay that & get his arse to church?

    I'm 56 YO & Ive frantically searched the area for a substantial church that could teach me....all I find is crappy, easy believing, I know what it says but we do it like this churches (with kickin music, ROLLS EYES) or the manipulative kind desperately trying to conn people (mostly RC's) to come in an grow the church.

    BTW.... Christians shouldn't be allowed near Rock & Roll. Its not for them. Its such an absurdity in the world this CCM nonsense.....It aint KICKIN MUSIC to a real man.....its an assault on the ears for heaven sakes. I cringe at hearing that & I know my son & his friends consider it a big joke. They would never go to this LIQUID CHURCH THING thats going on in New Jersey..... thats where a guy goes when he is being beaten up by his wife for not indoctrinating his kids into these "Religious Clubs "/ see LIQUID attachment below. And is it me or does this pastor resemble "Jimmy Neutron?" Does to me.

    Jeeze, and a normal guy wants to sit down every once & a while, relax & maybe have a home cooked meal (at home--not in a church basement) with his family. Your taking family time away (its called intimacy...family intimacy) away so we can sit down with other people (strangers really)to a Pot Luck Dinner.....note they dont serve beer or wine either.....well I want a beer with my "Roast Beef" & I dont get it at the "tee·totaler" club do I? I get Swedish Meatballs, chicken & noodle salad...oh & up here Ziti.....freaken tons of it (In New Jersey)... it isnt the menu I would select.

    So now you've taken away my family time (time we as a family would have REALLY talked & LAUGHED together), forced me to listen to God terrible Christian Contemporary Music... LOUD to compensate for the lack of musical ability on the bands part, made me socialize with people Id normally walk in the other direction from on the street, took away my roast beef or a Pork Loin dinner(important to a guy who was raised on it every Sunday) & substituted freakin Ziti (tomato sauce from a jar crap) & denied me the pleasure of a Guinness with my meal .... then to add insult to injury, made me stay there cleaning up so I miss the football game.

    Are you gettin the picture?

    http://vimeo.com/74027022
     
  9. Yeshua1

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    Think most common reasons for departing are job relocation, marriage and needing to pick a single church, havings kids and needing children/youth activities, and just now having different understandings of doctrines from the church you decide to now leave!
     
  10. JonC

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    Another reason that I have seen is consumer mentality. Sometimes we look for churches that provide what we want (in terms of preference) and join. Later it gets old and we look for something new. If one church convicts me of something, I could simply find another church who wouldn't.
     
  11. glazer1972

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    Doctrine and emphasis was my reason for recently leaving one congregation and joining another.
     
  12. sag38

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    Not only should Christians be careful in which church they attend and serve in. A church and pastor should be careful as well about who they accept into the membership of the church.

    As a general rule I do not present someone to the church for church membership until I have had an opportunity to talk with them first. I have taken some heat for this stance from old time members but it's pressure that I'm willing to take. I have told them that as long as the church gives me the responsibility of presenting prospective members that I am not going to present anyone that I have not interviewed.
    First, I want to know about their relationship with Christ. Too many think that church membership is what saves a person. Others think their good works makes them a Christian. They have no clue as to what "grace" actually means and the need to respond to God's call if indeed He is calling them. Many have no real idea about baptism and what it means. I take the opportunity to witness and to teach.
    Second, especially if they are coming from another church, I want to know why he or she wants to join our church. Some have told them that our church just gave them a good feeling to which I respond. "What happens when the good feeling leaves?" Or they like my preaching. So, what happens when they don't? Are they going to leave us too? I want to know if they have unfinished business at their last church. Did they leave disgruntled and if so did they leave in a Christ like manner? I some cases I have called the pastor to discuss the situation. I don't want to present another church's problem into our church.
    Third, I want to know about their marriage. Before I did this I had people join the church who were living together which created problems. Now I can head these problems off. Most of the time it is a positive experience giving me an opportunity to learn more about a family or individual.
    Fourth, I take the opportunity to share with the prospective member about our church, our mission, our expectations, our beliefs, etc. We are apologetically SBC, conservative, evangelistic....
     
  13. Salty

    Salty
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    Hitting like button
     
  14. Earth Wind and Fire

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    So you do reject people. What do you consider the right reasons for wanting to join a church......personally, I only see one.
     
  15. sag38

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    We reject non Christians. We reject those who refuse baptism by immersion. We refuse those who are in an active and open immoral lifestyle. It does not mean that they cannot attend but they cannot be members. A born again Christian should feel led of the Lord to join a church.
     
  16. Alive in Christ

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    I have never understood the "jump through the hoops" mentality regarding new members.

    At my church (Baptist) if somone wants to become a "member" (we dont use that word.)...

    Just come regularly. :wavey:

    You will be called brother or sister.

    If, in the process of time, serious problems become aparant. we will deal with them at that time.
     
    #16 Alive in Christ, Sep 13, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2013
  17. sag38

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    If you want to accept anybody into the congregation as a member willy nilly then go for it. That is why we as Baptist have local autonomy.
     
  18. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    I agree.:thumbs:
     
  19. righteousdude2

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    California and Church Hopping!

    Out here in the land of "Fruits, nuts and lfakes!" It is not unusual for a church to practically change membership over a span of several years. Out here we don't call it church hopping, it simply considered a part of a transient society and people!

    If I miss a few Sundays at church, I will undoubtedly return to find people greeting me with a welcome and is this your first Sunday with us? That bruises the ego! :smilewinkgrin:
     
  20. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Then you wonder why your pastor is aloof. But my question to you on a personal note is, "why do you stay in California?" Is it your comfort zone?
     

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