New Members Class - The Poll

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Jun 26, 2013.

?

A church requires a 6 week New members class

  1. Actually it should be several more weeks

    2 vote(s)
    10.0%
  2. Yes, a 6 week class is a very good ideal

    6 vote(s)
    30.0%
  3. Yes, but only 2 or 3 weeks is needed

    1 vote(s)
    5.0%
  4. A one day orientation is all that is needed

    5 vote(s)
    25.0%
  5. Should only be optional

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. No need for a new members class

    1 vote(s)
    5.0%
  7. If a church required it, I would refuse to join.

    1 vote(s)
    5.0%
  8. Not only would I refuse to join, but I would let others know they are un-biblical

    2 vote(s)
    10.0%
  9. Not sure

    1 vote(s)
    5.0%
  10. Other answer

    1 vote(s)
    5.0%
  1. Salty

    Salty
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    #1 Salty, Jun 26, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2013
  2. RLBosley

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    I voted that a 6 week course is a good idea, mostly because my church has a 4 week course and we didn't quite cover everything as thoroughly as the pastor wanted.
     
  3. JohnDeereFan

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  4. Thousand Hills

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    I voted option #2. Sadly our church does not have one, and to my knowledge has never had one. We have probably 2 to 3 inactive members on the roll for every active member, and nobody seems to care one way or the other.:tear:
     
  5. JohnDeereFan

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    We just had to remove about a dozen people for inactivity.
     
  6. Thousand Hills

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    Please don't tell them about my church. Seriously, can you:
    (1) briefly describe how you guys do it.
    (2)Is there any reaction positive or negative from the inactive members.
    (3)At what point are they declared inactive (1 Year, 3 Years, 5 Years)

    Maybe this is a subject for another thread, if so my apologies to Salty.
     
  7. Salty

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    Off OP - just a tiny bit - but no need to apologize
    If there was some good initial training - a church may not have so many inactive members.

    But good ideal - start a thread on that specific subject.
     
  8. JohnDeereFan

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    It's a form of church discipline and, like all church discipline, the purpose should always, always, always, be to call someone to repentence and restoration to a right relationship with God.

    With that, after determining that there was no understandable cause, like illness, work, moving, vacation, etc, we proceeded with discipline.

    We started by approaching them to see if anything was wrong, if there was something we should know or could help them with.

    We explained to them what the Bible says about being a part of the church, about their covenant with the church, about their place in the Body, etc.

    After that, we followed Matthew 18.

    Out of the dozen or so we removed, one had fallen into a bout of clinical depression and did not believe he was physically or emotionally able to attend, a couple moved away, and some just stopped showing up.

    He was later restored and is now doing very well, both personally and in his ministry.

    Most understood where we were coming from, a couple got angry, and a couple were tried in absentia, so to speak.

    Remember, just because they were removed doesn't mean they're ineligible to try to join again at another time.

    Although we followed church discipline rules, we really did not treat this as we would have if someone had been caught in open sin because we understand that there are legitimate reasons and that, in all but a couple of cases, their intent wasn't outright disobedient.

    It was different for different people, depending on their circumstances.

    Typically, if you just disappear and we don't see you for six months, that's a good sign that you're not all that committed.
     
  9. JohnDeereFan

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    It was about a dozen people in a church of 400. I believe the fact that we do make it difficult to join is one of the reasons we so rarely have these discipline issues.
     
  10. Mexdeaf

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    I voted "other answer". Reason being, ours is a six-week class but I'm not sure that is optimal. Some may do it in less time, some more. But there should at least be a class!
     
  11. InTheLight

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    Don't see a 6 week course in church membership in the book of Acts. Still, some sort of instruction is needed. I voted for a one-day orientation. If you can't explain the basics of church membership and why your church does things a certain way in four hours or so you are needlessly complicating things, IMO.

    Do a one day course and send them home with literature.
     
  12. Servent

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    About 3 or 4 times a year our pastor does about a 2 hour class, Covers what we believe and how things are done.
     
  13. Thousand Hills

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    JDF, thanks for your response to my questions. I agree with your statement above and think that people do not take church membership seriously enough. Also it impressive that you are a 400 member church doing this, that means there is accountability on all levels. It would appear to me that as most churches get bigger, they would be less agressive about watching out for those who may be drifting from fellowship.

    While a new membership class would not help our church solve the inactivity problem, it would help prevent it going forward. The inactivity problem will just require conviction from both leaders and active members.

    Also, I tried to look up your church from your profile. Is your church affiliated with 9 Marks?
     
  14. preachinjesus

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    This might take a couple of minutes, so bear with me. I am passionate about church membership. A connected and validated church member will accomplish more for the Gospel than 1,000 marginal attenders (an estimate.)

    I voted for: A one day orientation is all that is needed

    At the church where I get to serve, we utilize a covenant membership process to connect with new members and maintain accountability with established members. We have a membership covenant that we ask all of our members to sign when they indicate they desire to join, and then renew every year with our church family.

    Our membership covenant allows them to know what they can expect from their church leaders and also allows them to know what their church family expects of them. We ask that they are involved in groups, serving, going, and giving in a measurable way during the year. If someone falls off in one of these areas we follow up with them and see how they're doing and if they need any specific pastoral care.

    Part of this covenant membership is that we require every new member to attend a class that meets on one Sunday from 8:30 am - 12 pm. We provide breakfast and coffee along with a connection guide at their table to walk them through the process and answer any questions. The sessions, there are four of them, cover our history, our beliefs, our ministry, our leaders, our missions and our covenant membership process.

    Every new member is also asked to fill out a testimony of their salvation and submit to our minister for connections. The process is pretty straightforward and it works well for us. It isn't for all churches but it does work for our church.

    We also keep track of our members and clean up our roles every year because of the renewal. Right now we have less members than attenders. That isn't a bad thing for us. :)

    One of the things that I've recognized in a number growing churches of all sizes is that they hold these kinds of new member classes and require them as a step for membership. The classes might range from one day to multiple weeks. Yet these classes are part of their growth strategy. They work when properly validated and carried through.

    Hope that helps. :)
     
  15. JohnDeereFan

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    Thanks. For us, it was a matter of survival. Our church was formed when our previous church went off the rails and started getting so far into the seeker sensitive movement and dabbling in the emergent movement, that it started to look like a self help group than a church.

    We decided from the get go that even if people looked at us funny and didn't understand what we were doing, we were going to have to take some hard stands and do some things that, in the context of the modern church, look radical.

    That's another reason we do the class. We want people to know what's expected of them and what our vision and mission is before they join. Once you join, you're expected to be a part of the life of the church and that means ministry of one kind or another or training for ministry (thus, another reason against paedobaptism).

    We don't run our church by polls, but polls are always interesting and can be a good way to see what's going on.

    When Barna and those groups survey people who have left churches, one of the chief complaints is, "I was never involved. I was just told to sit there and not given anything to do to contribute to the life of the church".

    If you look at Hebrews 5, Paul rebuked people in the church for not contributing to the life of the church because they were never prepared or discipled to do so.

    We try very hard to make sure that you're in a position and that you have as many tools as possible to serve, to edify, and to be edified in return.

    No, But I'm vaguely familiar with them and, from what I understand, they're a good ministry.
     
  16. JohnDeereFan

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    Good post.
     
  17. saturneptune

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    This is not to start a rip roaring back and forth, but does not Acts 2: 41-47 make it quite clear to everyone that joining the church precedes the training and discipleship? I would like to see a Scriptural reference for having an indoctrination period before joining a local church.
     
  18. Tom Bryant

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    For me, the length, time, day and such is a matter of what fits the local church best.

    We require it.
     
  19. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I think that might cause some second thoughts among new member applicants. It's like saying "Well, sure, you claim to be a Christian, but your word to that effect isn't good enough for us." My thoughts are that making it a "strong suggestion" for the new believer is the toughest statement the church should make, and if they have a transfer letter or a statement of faith, I believe it has to be assumed they know from whereof and "whomof" they come.
     
  20. Berean

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    My church has a luncheon once a month (after the 11:00 AM worship service) attended by all ordained staff in which the Pastor makes known how the Church is there to serve the disciples and how then in turn can become a part of the ministry. The doctrinal issues were covered in the counseling session prior to being presented to the body for a vote.
     

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