Involving non-members

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    In another thread, about getting and keeping 20-30 - it was recommended that you not worry about membership that much and let all help in things such as pass out bulletins, help in refreshments, and ect.

    Should the requirement of membership be only for offices such as deacon, teacher, trustee, ect.

    So what do you all say, should anyone helping, even "minor assistance" be required to be a member,
     
  2. Johnv

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    Generally, no. The moment a person walks into a church, they should be treated like family. If they wish to get involved into the church, so long as there are no character issues, then let them serve (there are always exceptions to that.

    I for the life of me can't imagine telling someone they can't pass out bulletins because they haven't gone through the membership process.
     
  3. rdwhite

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    If you never involve non-members in some capacity, they will probably never consider joining the church. The bi-laws of the church should specify who can be a member, the process of becoming a member, and the privileges of being a member. We do not allow non-members to hold offices or serve on committees, however we do allow them to participate in other areas, such as usher and hostess functions. If they qualify to be a member, I would certainly be talking with them about that. However, we have had several people who attend on a regular basis that would not qualify to be a member.
     
  4. preachinjesus

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    We ask for people who desire at deeper and more public levels of service and lay leadership to sign a membership covenant. Within that covenant are marks of accountability for those who sign.

    You don't have to sign it. But to serve in some of our areas we require it.

    We allow non-members to do a ton of stuff from saying hi! to people, to going on mission trips, to serving food at our shelter, etc etc

    But teaching, serving on the few committees we have, being part of the finance team, leading worship, and working with children and students require covenant membership.

    We have most all of our areas of serving and volunteering associated with a membership level. In our publications we indicate wher higher levels are needed (we don't get technical its pretty laid back in the wording.) It is for their protection, our protection, and to ensure we have a trusted community.

    Might not work for your community, but it does for our community. :)
     
  5. Marcia

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    I think any ongoing assistance should be done by members only (I'm not talking about bringing food to a church dinner or helping out at events like that).

    The main reason for this is, imo, that you do not want the influence of people in the church who may not subscribe to the church's statement of faith. What if the church unwittingly allows someone with a view of the Bible or Christianity that departs seriously from the church's doctrine? This could be a huge problem.

    Additionally, if the person is not a member, there is no accountability or way to discipline them.
     
  6. Tom Butler

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    I think Marcia sums up my viewpoint quite nicely.

    But, preachinjesus makes some good points as well.
     
  7. Dale-c

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    I am very active in my church and I am not a member. I have been an usher, I have read the scripture in the morning service. I played my trumpet one service with the congregation and I also manage the sermons on the church website.

    Now, the reason I am not a member is that I have only been here a few months and this church does not accept new members until they have been around for a while.

    But see the reason I am not a member is their decision at this point. I am sure if I refused membership because I did not agree with the church's confession that would be another problem.

    But I should add that I do not have a place of leadership. and I won't I am sure until long after I am a member if ever.
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    Dale-c, have you given indication that you desire to join the church at the proper time. Seems as if they have already accepted you into the fellowship, if not the membership.

    Absent such an indication, I would go slow in allowing non-members to get as involved as you have.
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    Another thing to consider is the dwindling imperative of church membership. Most people don't care and don't understand it. Honestly, some of the best people at our church (i.e. most committed) aren't formal members. They just aren't there with us.
     
  10. SaggyWoman

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    I didn't think about it this way. Many "church members" never show, never participate, never give, never help...What is that? Marriage and death services, maybe? Enough already.
     
  11. Jim1999

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    I only pastored one church with a problem concerning membership as a prior requirement to service. We had more Missouri Synod Lutherans in attendance than actual Baptists! The nearest church for them was 200 miles away.

    For the sake of that church, I bent on what I believed to be so for the local church. I guess, sometimes we must bend a little for the betterment of church and community. I wonder if we can't divide the services in the modern church to allow for these situations.

    They did not take communion with the church members (closed communion) but I did conduct a separate communion service for them on another evening...Please don't tell my Baptist friends I did this. Also made other exceptions, singing, giving witness, some serving.

    Even Mr. Spurgeon bent on communion and never had a closed table.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  12. Revmitchell

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    I am with Marcia on this. What in the world would make someone want to serve regularly but not be a member? The lack of commitment would concern me.
     
  13. Dale-c

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    Tom, yes I have requested membership at the proper time. They usually take at least 6 months and sometimes over a year before adding new members.

    They like to see that people are serious and that people know the church as well before they join. There are not many members who leave this church once they join unless they move.

    By the way, we do not have to agree with the church confession to join but we do have to agree to be taught in accordance with it.
     
  14. Dale-c

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    We dont practice closed communion here and I have participated at a presbyterian church before that was biblocally sound.
     
  15. Revmitchell

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    Very wise

    Not so wise
     
  16. Dale-c

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    Yes, that is cause for concern. As I have said in my case, I want to be a member, they want me to be a member, it is just a matter of time.

    I have seen people that refuse membership before and it seems to go along with a refusal to be under the authority of the church.
     
  17. SaggyWoman

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    I don't think I have ever been to a church where I didn't participate (if I felt led to) in communion. None excluded.
     
  18. Dale-c

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    Revmitchel, I should clarify that our confession is the 1689 London Baptist Confession.
    New members must agree to the church constitution which states that as our confession.
    It is not that a person can join who is in opposition to it but who may be a young christian and not fully understand it yet thus they must be willing to be taught from it.
     
  19. Tom Butler

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    I commend your church and I commend you for desiring fellowship in such a congregation. Although the church I serve does not have such a practice, I personally would love to see some sort of probationary and instructional period for any prospective member.

    Under such a process, I would consider some areas of service for such prospective members, prior to actual membership. As a general rule, however, I think such areas of service should be limited.
     
  20. Revmitchell

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    Bingo!..............
     

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