Membership Lost

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Deacon, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. Deacon

    Deacon
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    This is a perennial problem for many churches.
    When do people get taken off you membership rolls?

    Is there a written statement or a policy? Is it followed?

    Who is responsible for following up on members that have drifted away or that have failed to show up for church for a month or so. :(

    Rob
     
  2. Plain Old Bill

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    Rob,
    Do you have a visitation program?Has anybody given this person/family as much as a phone call to see how they're doing?
     
  3. Deacon

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    There is no particular person in mind.

    Our leadership team is re-writing the out-dated church constitution and we are developing definitions of what constitutes an active member. Only active members may vote in a church meeting.

    In the recent past we have had difficulties in this area.

    We do not have a visitation program that visits each and every member of the church. We do have Weekday "growth groups" that provide accountability to those members who desire it. Unfortunately some people are so busy that this type of accountability becomes impossible. For others, of course, it is just inconvenient.

    Interesting, we do have a call list to check up on people but more often than not, unless people are called by the "Pastor" they don't think it counts :rolleyes:

    Rob
     
  4. Phillip

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    If you go by a big church I used to attend, they NEVER come off the roles. (except those of us that forced the issue with a letter)

    Hmmmmm. Maybe the pastor thinks it is because Christians are supposed to live forever. (But, somehow I think it has more to do with numbers.)

    For instance, should a church with about 700 attending have a roll of over 3000 or more?

    .....makes you wonder, doesn't it? :confused:
     
  5. 4-christ

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    I will pray I know Jesus can handle this problem.
     
  6. Jeffrey H

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    In our church, if a person has been absent for more than one year then they are moved to an "inactive" membership list.

    "Inactive" members never show up for business meetings to vote.
     
  7. USN2Pulpit

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    And when they do, it's generally to cause trouble.
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    In our church, you are an active member when you attend 13 services a quarter. If you do not meet that requirement, you are inactive and ineligible to vote or speak at a business meeting. If you are absent for a year, you are removed from the membership role after your name has been posted for two weeks for the church body to see and contest if they desire.

    Allowances are made for sick/health and for those who may travel (such as go south for the winter).

    This policy is in our constitution. It was put in there because some years ago, a bunch of people who had not been in church in years showed up at a business to vote on an issue. Seems that a couple of members who were opposed to something on the ballot recruited non-attending members to ensure that the vote went their way. It is inexcusable to have bottomless rolls for church membership. Membership means something. It means you are a member and are committed to the mission and ministry of the church. If you are, then show up. If you are not, then you are not a member.
     
  9. russell55

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    Is that right? That's perfect attendence with no absences.
     
  10. Pastor Larry

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    Yes it's right. No, it's not perfect attendance. There are 52 services every quarter.
     
  11. Debby in Philly

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    Yes, but there are 13 Sundays. In my church, that would be perfect attendance.
     
  12. Deacon

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    Pastor Larry wrote:
    I would have no problem maintaining membership with those rules (even if there were only 13 meetings per quarter [​IMG] )but keeping attendance would be a logistical nightmare for some poor member. It would be a rather dishearting job too. Is there a sign-in sheet or an official way attendance is kept?

    Here is a preliminary draft of our requirements, they are a little looser:
    Rob
     
  13. Pastor Larry

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    There are 13 Sundays. Each Sunday we have morning worship, Adult Bible Study classes, Sunday night Bible Study, and then we have a Midweek service. That means you have four opportunities each week to come one time.

    Quite frankly, that is a pretty low bar.
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    We have attendance cards (just like Saddleback does). Each week, each member is supposed to fill out a card and drop it in the offering plate. Most use it to cover up their big bills they put in. :D If they don't put in cards and their eligibility is challenged, the burden of proof is on them.

    Six months is pretty long time. Hopefully, in the meantime their deacon or someone else will be actively calling on them. Usually here, after two weeks, we are callign them to find out what's happening.
     
  15. TC

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    Guilty until proven innocent - what a concept.
     
  16. TWade

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    Silly, isn't it?
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    Did you think they were on trial for something?? They are not guilty of anything. They simply do not have the rights of a member since they do not act like one. In the 5+ years that I have been pastor, we have never had an eligibility list disputed. The constitution dictates how eligibility is determined. If someone's name is not on the eligibility list, then they are not eligible. They may dispute if they wish.

    Either way, they are not guilty of anything except failing to do what the constitution sets forth as their responsibility.
     
  18. TC

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    So not filling out a little card means they are not acting like proper members? Where is that in the Bible? I haven't seen that verse yet.
     
  19. Pastor Larry

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    It's not in the Bible. It's in the constitution that they agreed to when they joined the church by covenant. Church membership places one under the authority of the local church according to Scripture. The local church body decided this is how members would register their attendance. To not do so makes one potentially ineligible to vote.

    As far as acting like members, members attend and participate. Someone who does not do that is not acting like a member.

    Why is church polity confusing?? More than that, why is mutual accountability to the local body so anathema?? :confused:
     
  20. Jeffrey H

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    In my church, a member is taken off the rolls by one of the following:

    1) Transfers to another church.
    2) Member requests to be removed.
    3) Deleted from membership by a church vote.

    If none of the above actions occur, a person can be a member indefinitely. After one year of absence, they will be moved to an "inactive" list, but they are still members. Our deacons and pastor perform follow-up on members who are "falling away" to try to bring them back in. However, once they go absent for more than one year, the follow-ups generally stop.

    IMO, there are no such thing as "inactive" members, except in the case of illness or travel. Members that are willingly absent for an extended period of time should have their memberships removed.

    Our churches and mine included, generally have easy membership policies. Sadly, that is our current culture because we're afraid we will turn away visitors. We reap what we sow.
     

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