Monday, May 12, 2008

Concerns Over Regenerate Church Membership

According to a recent news report, concerns over regenerate church membership are resurfacing. The magnitude of this problem varies depending on who you listen to, but it should be a concern to all of us regardless of its scope.

Such concerns seem cyclical and some historical perspective can be helpful. I don’t agree with some of its assertions, but the news story Struggle With Regenerate Church Membership Has Long History, Expert Says by David Roach is worth a read.

I was especially struck with this excerpt because it stresses the important place of Sunday School …

Lee of Southwestern Seminary suggested that churches guard regenerate church membership by implementing membership classes, interviews for prospective members, church covenants and church discipline. Lee further encouraged churches to maintain contact with those inactive members.

“If churches were serious about membership, they would make every effort to see that all church members were somehow or another contacted on a regular basis,” stated Robert Mathis, associate vice president for institutional assessment at Southwestern Seminary.

He recommends utilizing Sunday School as the basic means of “keeping up with the church membership and the foundational place for ministry.”

At one time the Sunday School roll was “exaggerated to good effect,” he said. “And this would not be a problem since Sunday School was supposed to be an entry point to the church. But then it got to where it was harder to enroll in Sunday School than it was to join a church. Often you had to attend Sunday School three times in a row before you could enroll. Whereas church membership only required a trip down the aisle.”

Read the full news story Struggle With Regenerate Church Membership Has Long History, Expert Says.

Until next time…share the journey and enjoy the ride!